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Will CytomX Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CTMX) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether CytomX Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CTMX) shareholders should be worried about its 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. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for CytomX Therapeutics

Does CytomX Therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. When CytomX Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$349m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$126m. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.8 years as of June 2019. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

NasdaqGS:CTMX Historical Debt, September 21st 2019

How Well Is CytomX Therapeutics Growing?

It was quite stunning to see that CytomX Therapeutics increased its cash burn by 370% over the last year. While that's concerning on it's own, the fact that operating revenue was actually down 28% over the same period makes us positively tremulous. In light of the above-mentioned, we're pretty wary of the trajectory the company seems to be on. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

Can CytomX Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?

While CytomX Therapeutics seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. 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 to 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.

CytomX Therapeutics's cash burn of US$126m is about 31% of its US$408m 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 CytomX Therapeutics's Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought CytomX Therapeutics's 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. Notably, our data indicates that CytomX Therapeutics insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.