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VistaGen Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VTGN) Is In A Strong Position To Grow Its Business

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There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, VistaGen Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VTGN) shareholders have done very well over the last year, with the share price soaring by 194%. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

Given its strong share price performance, we think it's worthwhile for VistaGen Therapeutics shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. 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. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

View our latest analysis for VistaGen Therapeutics

Does VistaGen Therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. As at December 2020, VistaGen Therapeutics had cash of US$104m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$9.6m. So it had a very long cash runway of many years from December 2020. Even though this is but one measure of the company's cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

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

How Is VistaGen Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, VistaGen Therapeutics doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just US$648k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 42% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

How Hard Would It Be For VistaGen Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for VistaGen Therapeutics to raise more cash in the future. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$271m, VistaGen Therapeutics' US$9.6m in cash burn equates to about 3.6% of its 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.

How Risky Is VistaGen Therapeutics' Cash Burn Situation?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about VistaGen Therapeutics' cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Its cash burn reduction wasn't quite as good, but was still rather encouraging! After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for VistaGen Therapeutics (of which 2 make us uncomfortable!) you should know about.

Of course VistaGen Therapeutics 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.

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.

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