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We're Keeping An Eye On Forte Biosciences' (NASDAQ:FBRX) Cash Burn Rate

·4 min read

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you'd have done very well indeed. 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 should Forte Biosciences (NASDAQ:FBRX) shareholders be worried about its cash burn? For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

Check out our latest analysis for Forte Biosciences

Does Forte Biosciences 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. In March 2022, Forte Biosciences had US$40m in cash, and was debt-free. In the last year, its cash burn was US$15m. So it had a cash runway of about 2.7 years from March 2022. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. 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 Forte Biosciences' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Forte Biosciences didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. While it hardly paints a picture of imminent growth, the fact that it has reduced its cash burn by 25% over the last year suggests some degree of prudence. Admittedly, we're a bit cautious of Forte Biosciences due to its lack of significant operating revenues. So we'd generally prefer stocks from this list of stocks that have analysts forecasting growth.

How Easily Can Forte Biosciences Raise Cash?

While Forte Biosciences is showing a solid reduction in its cash burn, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. 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).

Forte Biosciences' cash burn of US$15m is about 69% of its US$21m market capitalisation. That's very high expenditure relative to the company's size, suggesting it is an extremely high risk stock.

How Risky Is Forte Biosciences' Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Forte Biosciences' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. While we're the kind of investors who are always a bit concerned about the risks involved with cash burning companies, the metrics we have discussed in this article leave us relatively comfortable about Forte Biosciences' situation. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 4 warning signs for Forte Biosciences you should be aware of, and 2 of them make us uncomfortable.

If you would prefer to check out another company with better fundamentals, then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt or this list of stocks which are all forecast to grow.

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.

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