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We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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 the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Bio-Path Holdings (NASDAQ:BPTH) shareholders should be worried about its 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.
How Long Is Bio-Path Holdings' 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. When Bio-Path Holdings last reported its balance sheet in September 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$12m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$11m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 14 months from September 2020. 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. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Bio-Path Holdings' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Bio-Path Holdings 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 43%, which suggests that management are increasing investment in future growth, but not too quickly. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can Bio-Path Holdings Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Bio-Path Holdings shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. 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 and 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.
Bio-Path Holdings has a market capitalisation of US$20m and burnt through US$11m last year, which is 53% of the company's market value. From this perspective, it seems that the company spent a huge amount relative to its market value, and we'd be very wary of a painful capital raising.
Is Bio-Path Holdings' Cash Burn A Worry?
Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Bio-Path Holdings' cash runway was relatively promising. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 5 warning signs for Bio-Path Holdings (1 can't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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)
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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