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We're Not Very Worried About Crinetics Pharmaceuticals's (NASDAQ:CRNX) Cash Burn Rate

Simply Wall St

There's no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. 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 history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Crinetics Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CRNX) 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'. Let's start with an examination of the business's cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for Crinetics Pharmaceuticals

When Might Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Run Out Of Money?

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. As at June 2019, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals had cash of US$145m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$32m. That means it had a cash runway of about 4.5 years as of June 2019. There's no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqGS:CRNX Historical Debt, October 28th 2019

How Well Is Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Growing?

Notably, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals actually ramped up its cash burn very hard and fast in the last year, by 137%, signifying heavy investment in the business. As if that's not bad enough, the operating revenue also dropped by 25%, making us very wary indeed. In light of the above-mentioned, we're pretty wary of the trajectory the company seems to be on. 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 Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Raise More Cash Easily?

While Crinetics Pharmaceuticals seems to be in a fairly good position, 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. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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$415m, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals's US$32m in cash burn equates to about 7.7% of its market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.

How Risky Is Crinetics Pharmaceuticals's Cash Burn Situation?

On this analysis of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn 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 Crinetics Pharmaceuticals's situation. For us, it's always important to consider risks around cash burn rates. But investors should look at a whole range of factors when researching a new stock. For example, it could be interesting to see how much the Crinetics Pharmaceuticals CEO receives in total remuneration.

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)

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.