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We Think Marker Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MRKR) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

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, 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 Marker Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MRKR) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Marker Therapeutics

How Long Is Marker Therapeutics'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. When Marker Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$53m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$18m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from June 2019 it had 2.9 years of cash runway. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

NasdaqGM:MRKR Historical Debt, October 8th 2019

How Is Marker Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Marker Therapeutics didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 97%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company's cash runway will shrink very quickly. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

Can Marker Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?

While Marker Therapeutics 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. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to 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.

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$222m, Marker Therapeutics's US$18m in cash burn equates to about 8.2% of its market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

Is Marker Therapeutics's Cash Burn A Worry?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Marker Therapeutics is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. 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. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Notably, our data indicates that Marker Therapeutics insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

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.