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We're Hopeful That Cortexyme (NASDAQ:CRTX) Will Use Its Cash Wisely

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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, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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 Cortexyme (NASDAQ:CRTX) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

View our latest analysis for Cortexyme

How Long Is Cortexyme's Cash Runway?

You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. As at March 2020, Cortexyme had cash of US$162m and no debt. In the last year, its cash burn was US$37m. Therefore, from March 2020 it had 4.4 years of cash runway. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

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

How Is Cortexyme's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Cortexyme isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. The skyrocketing cash burn up 130% year on year certainly tests our nerves. That sort of ramp in expenditure is no doubt intended to generate worthwhile long term returns. 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.

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

While Cortexyme 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. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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).

Cortexyme's cash burn of US$37m is about 2.8% of its US$1.3b market capitalisation. So it could almost certainly just borrow a little to fund another year's growth, or else easily raise the cash by issuing a few shares.

So, Should We Worry About Cortexyme's Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Cortexyme'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. Looking at all the measures in this article, together, we're not worried about its rate of cash burn; the company seems well on top of its medium-term spending needs. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 4 warning signs for Cortexyme (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) you should know about.

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. 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.

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