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We Think Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MDGL) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

Simply Wall St

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So, the natural question for Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MDGL) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

View our latest analysis for Madrigal Pharmaceuticals

When Might Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Run Out Of Money?

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. When Madrigal Pharmaceuticals last reported its balance sheet in March 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$409m. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$66m. Therefore, from March 2020 it had 6.2 years of cash runway. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

NasdaqCM:MDGL Historical Debt May 28th 2020

How Is Madrigal Pharmaceuticals's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. In fact, it ramped its spending strongly over the last year, increasing cash burn by 182%. That sort of ramp in expenditure is no doubt intended to generate worthwhile long term returns. 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 Madrigal Pharmaceuticals To Raise More Cash For Growth?

While Madrigal Pharmaceuticals does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to 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).

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals has a market capitalisation of US$1.9b and burnt through US$66m last year, which is 3.6% 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.

Is Madrigal Pharmaceuticals's Cash Burn A Worry?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Madrigal Pharmaceuticals's cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. While we must concede that its increasing cash burn is a bit worrying, the other factors mentioned in this article provide great comfort when it comes to the cash burn. 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. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we've identified 2 warning signs for Madrigal Pharmaceuticals that you should be aware of before investing.

Of course Madrigal Pharmaceuticals may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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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. Thank you for reading.