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We're Keeping An Eye On Sangamo Therapeutics's (NASDAQ:SGMO) Cash Burn Rate

Simply Wall St

There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Sangamo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SGMO) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Sangamo Therapeutics

How Long Is Sangamo Therapeutics'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. When Sangamo Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in September 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$355m. In the last year, its cash burn was US$205m. So it had a cash runway of approximately 21 months from September 2019. 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.

NasdaqGS:SGMO Historical Debt, November 19th 2019

Is Sangamo Therapeutics's Revenue Growing?

Given that Sangamo Therapeutics actually had positive free cash flow last year, before burning cash this year, we'll focus on its operating revenue to get a measure of the business trajectory. While it's not that amazing, we still think that the 5.3% increase in revenue from operations was a positive. 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.

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

While Sangamo Therapeutics is showing solid revenue growth, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive 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.

Sangamo Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$1.1b and burnt through US$205m last year, which is 19% of the company's market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

Is Sangamo Therapeutics's Cash Burn A Worry?

Sangamo Therapeutics appears to be in pretty good health when it comes to its cash burn situation. Not only was its revenue growth quite good, but its cash runway was a real positive. 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 Sangamo Therapeutics's situation. While we always like to monitor cash burn for early stage companies, qualitative factors such as the CEO pay can also shed light on the situation. Click here to see free what the Sangamo Therapeutics CEO is paid..

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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.