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Here's Why We're Not Too Worried About Cortexyme's (NASDAQ:CRTX) Cash Burn Situation

Simply Wall St

Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Cortexyme (NASDAQ:CRTX) 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Cortexyme

When Might Cortexyme Run Out Of Money?

You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. Cortexyme has such a small amount of debt that we'll set it aside, and focus on the US$120m in cash it held at September 2019. Importantly, its cash burn was US$26m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2019 it had 4.6 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

NasdaqGS:CRTX Historical Debt, January 5th 2020

How Is Cortexyme's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Cortexyme isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. The skyrocketing cash burn up 131% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of ramp in expenditure is no doubt intended to generate worthwhile long term returns. 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.

How Easily Can Cortexyme Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Cortexyme shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. 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 to drive 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.

Cortexyme has a market capitalisation of US$1.3b and burnt through US$26m last year, which is 2.0% of the company's market value. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.

So, Should We Worry About Cortexyme's Cash Burn?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Cortexyme is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we're pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Cortexyme insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.

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)

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.

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. Thank you for reading.