Mast Therapeutics Inc (NYSEMKT:MSTX), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, clinical-stage therapies for sickle cell disease and heart failure, today announced that it is joining other industry leaders, patient advocacy groups, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and foundations in a collective effort to improve sickle cell disease (SCD) care, early diagnosis, treatment, and research both in the United States and globally. The newly formed Sickle Cell Disease Coalition is spearheaded by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and aspires to change the status quo of SCD treatment and awareness.

SCD is an inherited, lifelong disorder characterized by red blood cells that become rigid and sickle-shaped, which causes them to stick together and block the flow of oxygen to the body, leading to intense pain and other serious issues such as stroke, organ failure, and death. SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans and millions worldwide. It is a growing health problem and it is estimated that by 2050 the number of people with SCD will increase by 30 percent globally.  Over the last century, several important discoveries have led to improved diagnosis and treatments, but people with the disease still have severe complications and shorter life expectancy. Many are unable to access the care they need and live with pain and disability due to a lack of effective treatment options.

Today, at a press conference and formal launch of the Coalition at the Knight Conference Center of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the Coalition will announce a call to action on SCD and the American Society of Hematology and several members of the Coalition will issue a new report, State of Sickle Cell Disease: 2016, which outlines unmet needs in four priority areas: Access to care, training and professional education, research and clinical trials, and global health. The report shows that significant improvements are needed across all areas and highlights strategies for change.

“Around the world, people with sickle cell disease face unique challenges – from early death and childhood stroke in countries without early screening programs to lifetimes of mental and physical disability due to lack of access to appropriate care in the United States. We can no longer accept that this is the status quo,” said Charles S. Abrams, M.D., President of the American Society of Hematology, the organization spearheading the Coalition. “The Sickle Cell Disease Coalition is bringing together a number of groups that care about this disease to take advantage of the opportunities we have for change.”

“We are proud to join ASH and other organizations to support the Coalition’s ultimate objective of improving outcomes for individuals with sickle cell disease,” stated Brian M. Culley, Chief Executive Officer of Mast Therapeutics. “At Mast, we are working to improve outcomes for sickle cell patients through the development of our investigational new drug vepoloxamer.  We are hopeful Mast will be able to provide the first approved medication for intervention in vaso-occlusive crisis, a debilitating and recurrent condition for sickle cell patients that can lead to organ damage and early death,” continued Mr. Culley. “We believe that the Coalition will be able to increase awareness of this devastating disease and create more opportunity for changes that can improve care and treatment of individuals living with sickle cell disease.” (Original Source)

Shares of Mast Therapeutics are currently trading at $0.64, up $0.087 or 15.85%. MSTX has a 1-year high of $0.60 and a 1-year low of $0.21. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.40 and its 200-day moving average is $0.35.

On the ratings front, MSTX has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 8, Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on MSTX, with a price target of $5.00, which implies an upside of 806% from current levels. Separately, on August 2, Roth Capital’s Michael Higgins reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $2.00.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason McCarthy and Michael Higgins have a total average return of -1.4% and -4.6% respectively. McCarthy has a success rate of 36.4% and is ranked #3318 out of 4147 analysts, while Higgins has a success rate of 44% and is ranked #3588.

Mast Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in developing novel therapies for serious or life-threatening diseases with significant unmet needs. It provides products MST-188 has cytoprotective and hemorheologic properties and inhibits inflammatory processes and thrombosis.