Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) announced the recent publication of an article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroinflammation that provides further evidence that multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPC®), or, as used in clinical development, MultiStem® cell therapy, has the potential to provide benefit following hypoxic ischemia, an injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain before or during birth and a leading cause of cerebral palsy. The article also describes the biological mechanisms through which this cell therapy delivers benefit. These findings are consistent with previous findings in related areas, such as ischemic stroke, and add to the scientific foundation supporting MultiStem cell therapy for the treatment of acute neurological injuries.
The article (J Neuroinflammation 2015 12(1):241) entitled “Multipotent adult progenitor cells for hypoxic-ischemic injury in the preterm brain” was authored by Dr. Reint Jellema, scientists from Maastricht University, Scientists from Maastricht University Medical Center and Máxima Medical Center Veldhoven in the Netherlands, and Athersys scientists, and describes the results of experiments evaluating the potential for MAPC to provide benefit to pre-term sheep that have undergone hypoxic ischemia. Intravenous administration of MAPC cell therapy reduced both the number and duration of seizures when compared to placebo treated animals. Seizures commonly follow hypoxic injury in neonates and are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. As expected, MAPC treatment also had a significant anti-inflammatory effect by reducing activation and proliferation of immune cells in the brain, as well as modulating the peripheral inflammatory response, as demonstrated by prevention of splenic atrophy and the reduction of key inflammatory biomarkers.
“This study in a large animal model of pre-term hypoxic-ischemic injury further demonstrates the potential for MultiStem therapy to provide benefit to patients suffering from an acute neurological injury,” said Dr. Robert Mays, Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Research at Athersys. “These results are consistent with those from previous studies testing our cells in rodent models of hypoxic ischemia and ischemic stroke, and confirm our previous findings supporting the biological mechanisms through which MAPC treatment provides benefit following acute neurological injury. The results strengthen the biologic rationale for our ongoing clinical and preclinical research in ischemic stroke and hypoxic-ischemic injury, as well as traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.” (Original Source)
Shares of Athersys closed yesterday at $1.22. ATHX has a 1-year high of $3.43 and a 1-year low of $0.90. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1.06 and its 200-day moving average is $1.12.
On the ratings front, Athersys has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 8, WBB analyst Stephen Brozak maintained a Buy rating on ATHX, with a price target of $9, which implies an upside of 637.7% from current levels. Separately, on December 22, Maxim Group’s Jason Kolbert maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $5.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Stephen Brozak and Jason Kolbert have a total average return of 24.5% and -20.9% respectively. Brozak has a success rate of 50.0% and is ranked #280 out of 3609 analysts, while Kolbert has a success rate of 23.3% and is ranked #3607.
Athersys Inc is a biopharmaceutical company developing regenerative medicine. It is engaged in the discovery and development of therapies designed to extend and enhance human life.