Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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, the natural question for Intra-Cellular Therapies (NASDAQ:ITCI) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
When Might Intra-Cellular Therapies 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. In September 2021, Intra-Cellular Therapies had US$477m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was US$255m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2021 it had roughly 22 months of cash runway. Notably, analysts forecast that Intra-Cellular Therapies will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. Essentially, that means the company will either reduce its cash burn, or else require more cash. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Intra-Cellular Therapies Growing?
At first glance it's a bit worrying to see that Intra-Cellular Therapies actually boosted its cash burn by 30%, year on year. On the other hand, the impressive revenue growth of 577% signals that the increased expenditure may well be yielding results. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money! We think it is growing rather well, upon reflection. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
Can Intra-Cellular Therapies Raise More Cash Easily?
Intra-Cellular Therapies seems to be in a fairly good position, in terms of cash burn, but we still think it's worthwhile considering how easily it could raise more money if it wanted to. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. 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).
Intra-Cellular Therapies' cash burn of US$255m is about 6.1% of its US$4.2b market capitalisation. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.
So, Should We Worry About Intra-Cellular Therapies' Cash Burn?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Intra-Cellular Therapies' cash burn. For example, we think its revenue growth suggests that the company is on a good path. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Intra-Cellular Therapies that potential shareholders should take into account before putting money into a stock.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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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.