U.S. Markets close in 17 mins

Easy Come, Easy Go: How Idera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDRA) Shareholders Got Unlucky And Saw 85% Of Their Cash Evaporate

Simply Wall St

Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDRA) has rebounded strongly over the last week, with the share price soaring 34%. But spare a thought for the long term holders, who have held the stock as it bled value over the last five years. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 85% lower after that period. While the recent increase might be a green shoot, we're certainly hesitant to rejoice. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.

View our latest analysis for Idera Pharmaceuticals

Idera Pharmaceuticals recorded just US$1,692,000 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn't really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. You have to wonder why venture capitalists aren't funding it. As a result, we think it's unlikely shareholders are paying much attention to current revenue, but rather speculating on growth in the years to come. For example, they may be hoping that Idera Pharmaceuticals comes up with a great new product, before it runs out of money.

Companies that lack both meaningful revenue and profits are usually considered high risk. There is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some companies like this go on to deliver on their plan, making good money for shareholders, many end in painful losses and eventual de-listing. It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Idera Pharmaceuticals investors might realise.

When it reported in June 2019 Idera Pharmaceuticals had minimal cash in excess of all liabilities consider its expenditure: just US$46m to be specific. So if it has not already moved to replenish reserves, we think the near-term chances of a capital raising event are pretty high. That probably explains why the share price is down 31% per year, over 5 years. The image below shows how Idera Pharmaceuticals's balance sheet has changed over time; if you want to see the precise values, simply click on the image. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Idera Pharmaceuticals's cash levels have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:IDRA Historical Debt, September 10th 2019

Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? It would bother me, that's for sure. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 3.8% in the last year, Idera Pharmaceuticals shareholders lost 66%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 31% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

Idera Pharmaceuticals is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.