Many small biotech players have put the foot on the gas in 2020. With the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment still the number one global priority, this comes as no surprise.
Athersys (ATHX) is among those to rise to the challenge and the market has rewarded the micro-cap accordingly. Shares have appreciated by 114% since the turn of the year.
Yet, Dawson James analyst Jason Kolbert believes the upward movement has a long way to go.
Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on ATHX shares along with a $12 price target. Investors can expect returns of a whopping 360%, should the target be met over the coming year. (To watch Kolbert’s track record, click here)
Following the recent clearance from the FDA, a Phase 2/3 ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) trial has kicked into gear at the University of Cleveland Medical Center (UHC), with the first patient enrolled. The study will evaluate Athersys’ stem cell therapy, Multistem, in patients with moderate to severe ARDS associated with COVID-19. Overall, 400 subjects are expected to enroll in the study with the number of ventilator-free days after 28 days compared to placebo as the primary end point.
Last month, Athersys completed a Phase 1/2 study evaluating MultiStem in patients with ARDS. Based on the promising data, the FDA has granted the program Fast Track status.
Kolbert believes Athersys’ Multistem “offers great hope for patients suffering from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).”
Kolbert added, “The data released last month is impressive for a small study and suggests that Multistem has efficacy in ARDS… Multistem works independent of the cause, albeit pneumonia or the coronavirus. As such, it has the potential to be an ideal, first-line defense for patients in respiratory distress… We believe in the potential of Multistem to become a viable treatment option for COVID-ARDS patients.”
Over the last 3 months, only one other analyst has thrown the hat in with a review of the micro-cap’s prospects. The additional Buy rating hands ATHX a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $6, and implies potential upside of a strong 130%. (See Athersys stock analysis on TipRanks)
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