Athersys Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing MultiStem, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell product platform for the cardiovascular, neurological, inflammatory and immune disease areas. The company currently has five clinical stage programs involving MultiStem, including those for treating inflammatory bowel disease (partnered with Pfizer Inc.), ischemic stroke, damage caused by myocardial infarction and for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease. Athersys has additional pharmaceutical programs in the metabolic and neurological areas, and a broad international network of collaborations with leading clinical and research institutions.
The information provided below is from analysts, newsletters and other contributors. Please contact the company and visit its website before making an investment decision.
The Life Sciences Report Interview with Christian Glennie
"We've certainly been interested in Athersys Inc., but we have not initiated full coverage. I'm interested and excited by the MultiStem (multipotent adult progenitor cell) technology it is developing. It has Pfizer as a partner in ulcerative colitis. The real big ticket item, potentially, is the outcome of its phase 2 trial in ischemic stroke trial, with results expected in 2014. This could be transformational for the company. It's an exciting story and definitely a company to watch."
The Life Sciences Report Interview with Jason Kolbert
"Athersys Inc. is very differentiated. I think what you have to appreciate is the level of science that's been practiced at Athersys and the amount of time that it's been going on. The former head of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, Gil Van Bokkelen, is CEO and co-founder of the company. He is one of the leaders in this space. He is a scientist, and the number of scientists working at Athersys is really impressive. I've been there, and I've met them. It's also very important to understand manufacturing, and I think Athersys shines in this area as well.
The company has two very important trials in progress, either of which would be transformative with good data. As I mentioned before, Athersys is partnered with Pfizer in an ulcerative colitis program. Athersys' cell therapy product, MultiStem, is being used to treat these patients. I believe that even before we see data from the phase 2 trail, we could see Pfizer make a decision to expand its relationship with Athersys based on the recognition of what it already knows about the company and the product.
Athersys is one of only a handful of companies that has spelled out in detail the mechanism of action. . .the idea of being so specific with mechanism of action, with dose, with where it's delivered and with when it's delivered, becomes critical for the company, a differentiating factor. Athersys also has an interesting small molecule program, with 5HT2c receptors and agonists for obesity or schizophrenia. That's not on the regenerative medicine side. This is a neat little company that has a great management team and deep science bench."
Christian Glennie, Edison Investment Research
"Athersys Inc. has gained 25% in the last month to trade at an 18-month high. We believe positive biotech sentiment in general, and burgeoning interest in stem cells and regenerative medicine in particular, are contributory factors. . .For Athersys, the key near-term catalyst is headline data in Q4/13 from a phase 2 study of its MultiStem product. . .positive results would provide important clinical validation of MultiStem and help to derisk other opportunities. . .with an estimated $21M in cash at end-Q1/13, Athersys' enterprise value is now $98M and we see this rising further on positive UC data."
Jason Kolbert, Maxim Group
"Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved expansion of Athersys' Corp.'s ongoing phase 2 trial in UK; Athersys has received authorization to expand its ongoing phase 2 trial in ischemic stroke, which according to management should speed up the completion of the trial. . .we see Athersys' valuation as compelling; the company now has a strong balance sheet (~$30M in cash) giving a deeply attractive enterprise value (<$65M). With an active phase 2 trial in stroke we see the potential for a rapid pathway to marketplace on good data."
The Life Sciences Report Interview with Steve Brozak
"Athersys Inc. is in a remarkable position in that it has a partnership with Pfizer Inc. for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It's now in a phase 2 trial with its MultiStem candidate (an allogeneic [using same species cells], single donor, multipotent, adult progenitor cell). Again, there are no satisfactory outcomes currently available for patients with IBD. Athersys is progressing down that road with a large partner that understands it will have to participate in developing this technology. The advantage to Athersys? It is partnered for just one indication, and if it sees the expected results it will be able to partner for other indications.
"Ischemic stroke is another indication Athersys is looking at. That's a highly significant indication, because physicians have a short window of opportunity to help patients regain function. If not treated right away, disability problems are exacerbated, and stroke leads to outcomes that are, once again, dealt with in a palliative and watchful fashion, which is unaffordable in the current healthcare environment. This is a phase 2 program, and it's unpartnered."
Athersys Inc. Content
an Interview with ATHX CEO Gil Van Bokkelen (1/31/13)
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