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We Think aTyr Pharma (NASDAQ:LIFE) Needs To Drive Business Growth Carefully

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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. Indeed, aTyr Pharma (NASDAQ:LIFE) stock is up 102% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

In light of its strong share price run, we think now is a good time to investigate how risky aTyr Pharma's cash burn is. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for aTyr Pharma

How Long Is aTyr Pharma's Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. In June 2021, aTyr Pharma had US$44m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was US$25m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 21 months as of June 2021. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

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

How Well Is aTyr Pharma Growing?

aTyr Pharma actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 79% in the last year, which shows it is boosting investment in the business. And that is all the more of a concern in light of the fact that operating revenue was actually down by 74% in the last year, as the company no doubt scrambles to change its fortunes. Considering these two factors together makes us nervous about the direction the company seems to be heading. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

How Hard Would It Be For aTyr Pharma To Raise More Cash For Growth?

aTyr Pharma revenue is declining and its cash burn is increasing, so many may be considering its need to raise more cash in the future. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future growth. We can compare a company's cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year's operations.

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$144m, aTyr Pharma's US$25m in cash burn equates to about 17% of its market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

How Risky Is aTyr Pharma's Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of aTyr Pharma's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its falling revenue has us a bit worried. Summing up, we think the aTyr Pharma's cash burn is a risk, based on the factors we mentioned in this article. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for aTyr Pharma (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.

If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.

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.

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