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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DRNA) Is In A Strong Position To Grow Its Business

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Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So should Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DRNA) shareholders 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

Check out our latest analysis for Dicerna Pharmaceuticals

Does Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Have A Long Cash Runway?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. When Dicerna Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in March 2021, it had zero debt and cash worth US$545m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$186m. So it had a cash runway of about 2.9 years from March 2021. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

Is Dicerna Pharmaceuticals' Revenue Growing?

We're hesitant to extrapolate on the recent trend to assess its cash burn, because Dicerna Pharmaceuticals actually had positive free cash flow last year, so operating revenue growth is probably our best bet to measure, right now. Pleasingly, the company produced stunning operating revenue growth of 224% over the last year. 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.

Can Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Raise More Cash Easily?

While Dicerna Pharmaceuticals' revenue growth truly does shine bright, it's important not to ignore the possibility that it might need more cash, at some point, even if only to optimise its growth plans. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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).

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$2.0b and burnt through US$186m last year, which is 9.4% of the company's market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

How Risky Is Dicerna Pharmaceuticals' Cash Burn Situation?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Dicerna Pharmaceuticals' cash burn. In particular, we think its revenue growth stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. And even its cash burn relative to its market cap was very encouraging. After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Dicerna Pharmaceuticals that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.

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)

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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.