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We're A Little Worried About Cyclerion Therapeutics's (NASDAQ:CYCN) Cash Burn Rate

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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. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

So, the natural question for Cyclerion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CYCN) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Cyclerion Therapeutics

Does Cyclerion Therapeutics 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. When Cyclerion Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in March 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$67m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$104m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of around 8 months as of March 2020. That's quite a short cash runway, indicating the company must either reduce its annual cash burn or replenish its cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqGS:CYCN Debt to Equity History July 6th 2020
NasdaqGS:CYCN Debt to Equity History July 6th 2020

How Is Cyclerion Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Cyclerion Therapeutics doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just US$5.5m in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. As it happens, the company's cash burn reduced by 6.2% over the last year, which suggests that management may be mindful of the risks of their depleting cash reserves. 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.

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

Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Cyclerion Therapeutics to raise more cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$163m, Cyclerion Therapeutics's US$104m in cash burn equates to about 64% of its market value. That's very high expenditure relative to the company's size, suggesting it is an extremely high risk stock.

Is Cyclerion Therapeutics's 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 Cyclerion Therapeutics's cash burn reduction was relatively promising. After considering the data discussed in this article, we don't have a lot of confidence that its cash burn rate is prudent, as it seems like it might need more cash soon. On another note, Cyclerion Therapeutics has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.

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.

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.

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