Nasdaq Today – We Think Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:IOVA) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth
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 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 Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:IOVA) shareholders be worried about its 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. Let’s start with an examination of the business’ cash, relative to its cash burn.
View our latest analysis for Iovance Biotherapeutics
When Might Iovance Biotherapeutics 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 December 2020, Iovance Biotherapeutics had cash of US$629m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$252m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of about 2.5 years from December 2020. Notably, analysts forecast that Iovance Biotherapeutics will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 3 years. So there’s a very good chance it won’t need more cash, when you consider the burn rate will be reducing in that period. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Iovance Biotherapeutics’ Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Iovance Biotherapeutics isn’t currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 52%. While this spending increase is no doubt intended to drive growth, if the trend continues the company’s cash runway will shrink very quickly. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
Can Iovance Biotherapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?
While Iovance Biotherapeutics does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. We can compare a company’s cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year’s operations.
Iovance Biotherapeutics’ cash burn of US$252m is about 5.3% of its US$4.8b 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.
How Risky Is Iovance Biotherapeutics’ Cash Burn Situation?
As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about Iovance Biotherapeutics’ cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. While its increasing cash burn wasn’t great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we’re pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. Readers need to have a sound understanding of business risks before investing in a stock, and we’ve spotted 3 warning signs for Iovance Biotherapeutics 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 companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
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.
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