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Here's Why We're Not Too Worried About Lumos Pharma's (NASDAQ:LUMO) Cash Burn Situation

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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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

So, the natural question for Lumos Pharma (NASDAQ:LUMO) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

See our latest analysis for Lumos Pharma

How Long Is Lumos Pharma's Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Lumos Pharma last reported its balance sheet in December 2021, it had zero debt and cash worth US$95m. In the last year, its cash burn was US$30m. Therefore, from December 2021 it had 3.2 years of cash runway. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis
debt-equity-history-analysis

How Is Lumos Pharma's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

In our view, Lumos Pharma doesn't yet produce significant amounts of operating revenue, since it reported just US$230k in the last twelve months. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. With the cash burn rate up 29% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. 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.

How Easily Can Lumos Pharma Raise Cash?

While Lumos Pharma 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. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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.

Lumos Pharma has a market capitalisation of US$68m and burnt through US$30m last year, which is 43% of the company's market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).

So, Should We Worry About Lumos Pharma's Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Lumos Pharma's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap 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 Lumos Pharma's situation. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Lumos Pharma (2 don't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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)

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

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.

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