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We Think Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

·3 min read

There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Editas Medicine

How Long Is Editas Medicine's 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. As at September 2021, Editas Medicine had cash of US$558m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$176m. Therefore, from September 2021 it had 3.2 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

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

How Well Is Editas Medicine Growing?

Editas Medicine actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 66% 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 73% 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. 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 Editas Medicine Raise Cash?

While Editas Medicine 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 and 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.

Editas Medicine's cash burn of US$176m is about 8.3% of its US$2.1b market capitalisation. 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.

Is Editas Medicine's Cash Burn A Worry?

On this analysis of Editas Medicine's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its falling revenue has us a bit worried. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about Editas Medicine's situation. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 4 warning signs for Editas Medicine that investors should know when investing in the 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. 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.