Analyst Gives Major Boost to Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX)

Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX)

Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) shares are up over 25% in early trading. Yesterday, in after-market trading, ATHX shares gained almost 17% on the news that investment bank William Blair had deemed Athersys’ MultiStem cell therapy for treating ischemic stroke patients as “revolutionary”. William Blair speculated that the top end of revenues for the treatment could reach $3.9 billion for a company that has a current market cap of less than $145 million.

Yesterday, in the after-market, shares of Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) ended the session at $1.38 and today ATHX shares have reached an inter-day high of $1.52. Volumes have been heavy. The posted average daily volume figure for ATHX shares is 804,080 but by Noon EST, already over 6.5 million shares had traded on the NASDAQ.

The news from William Blair follows a March 20, 2017 announcement of the publishing of Phase 2 clinical trial results for Mulitstem by clinical investigators. The article was published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Neurology. The article highlights the feasibility and safety of intravenous MultiStem treatment for patients who have suffered a moderate to severe stroke, the progressive improvements in recovery experienced by these patients through one year, and the increased benefit for those patients receiving MultiStem treatment within 36 hours of their stroke. In addition, the article describes how patients receiving intravenous MultiStem treatment demonstrated a significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines and immune cells and a decrease in infections associated with immune-depression, compared to patients receiving placebo.

Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) is planning a Phase 3 study entitled, MultiStem Administration for Stroke Treatment and Enhanced Recovery Study-2 (MASTERS-2). The MASTERS-2 study has received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) for the design and planned analysis of the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial.

The William Blair nod of approval is consistent with the last several years for shareholders of Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX). EPS, while posting losses, has improved YoY since 2013 when the company reported a loss of -$0.53. Losses have decreased each of the following years and in 2016 the EPS loss for ATHX shareholders was only $0.18. Sales have also improved. In 2014 Atherys reported sales of $1.6 million but in 2016 that number grew to $17.3 million. Dilution has also improved. In 2012 there were 32.56 million outstanding shares of ATHX and that number grew to 82.14 million in 2015 but only grew to 84.72 million in 2016.

Ticker Symbol ATHX
Last Price a/o 12:15 PM EST  $                      1.46
Average Volume                    804,080
Market Cap (mlns)  $                  128.45
Sales (mlns) $17.30
Shares Outstanding (mlns) 108.86
Share Float (mlns) 107.7
Shortable Yes
Optionable Yes
Inside Ownership 2.40%
Short Float 1.88%
Short Interest Ratio 2.52
Quarterly Return -25.32%
YTD Return -22.88%
Year Return -51.24%

I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 96 hours. All information, or data, is provided with no guarantees of accuracy.

About the author: Marc has a degree in economics and a MSc. in Finance. Over his 20-year career, Marc has worked for global investment firms in Europe and the United States as an analyst, fund manager, and consultant.

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Marc has a degree in economics and a MSc. in Finance. Marc worked for global investment firms in Europe and the United States as an analyst, fund manager, and consultant.

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