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We're Hopeful That Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:RARE) Will Use Its Cash Wisely

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·3 min read
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Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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.

So, the natural question for Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:RARE) 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'. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

Check out our latest analysis for Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical

When Might Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at December 2021, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical had cash of US$740m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$412m. Therefore, from December 2021 it had roughly 22 months of cash runway. While that cash runway isn't too concerning, sensible holders would be peering into the distance, and considering what happens if the company runs out of cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

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

How Well Is Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Growing?

Notably, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical actually ramped up its cash burn very hard and fast in the last year, by 134%, signifying heavy investment in the business. On the bright side, at least operating revenue was up 30% over the same period, giving some cause for hope. In light of the data above, we're fairly sanguine about the business growth trajectory. 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.

Can Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Raise More Cash Easily?

Even though it seems like Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical is developing its business nicely, we still like to consider how easily it could raise more money to accelerate growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. We can compare a company's cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year's operations.

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$4.9b, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical's US$412m in cash burn equates to about 8.3% 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.

How Risky Is Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical's Cash Burn Situation?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical's revenue growth was relatively promising. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. Its important for readers to be cognizant of the risks that can affect the company's operations, and we've picked out 3 warning signs for Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical 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 companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

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

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.