April 12, 2013 -- Patients, clinicians, and leading stem cell and regenerative medicine companies from around the world are gathered this week at the Vatican along with members of the media for the Second International Conference on Regenerative Medicine being hosted there. The three-day event seeks to educate and inform patients, the public, and the medical community on the exciting progress being made in the field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
The stem cell industry has passed an inflection point, transitioning from a “possibility” into a “matter of when,” according to leading analysts, as broad acceptance has been attained through a substantial body of research evidencing the incredible potential across a broad array of indications. As with any industry, there are ebbs and flows, and while many regenerative medicine companies seem to move in tandem based upon industry developments, recent trends suggest that some order is becoming delineated, with leaders rising to the top and holding higher, more consistent valuations based on their own merits.
Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX) is one such company that now has not just a single footprint, but rather a pathway of prints in the proverbial leadership ground of regenerative medicine. Further developments and greater exposure of its MultiStem® technology has led to an influx in volume and liquidity in the stock in the past six months and, subsequently, an impressive rise in share value to reach a new high of $1.90 – but even with the recent momentum the company has a market capitalization of barely more than $100 million – despite a rich portfolio of programs and broad network of collaborative relationships in areas that could easily represent blockbuster returns if the programs pan out in clinical development.
From industry to investor, the company and MultiStem have been the topic of a steady stream of articles detailing the intrinsic value of MultiStem on what it can mean from medical and investment perspectives. That trend has remained strong with Athersys announcing earlier this week the publication of articles in two peer-reviewed scientific journals, Journal of Immunology and Circulation, that describe the potential for multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPC®s), or MultiStem cells.
The articles detail separate research, with the Journal of Immunology article discussing the findings of a collaboration between King’s College, London, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Athersys pertaining to autoimmune disease and inflammatory conditions and the Circulation publication focused on the efforts of the Oregon Health and Science University and Athersys evaluating MultiStem as a therapeutic for peripheral vascular disease.
Athersys already has a host of clinical and pre-clinical research in progress researching its MultiStem cell therapy. These latest data provide a sturdy scientific foundation supporting the need for further research that could lead to additional clinical trials or commercial opportunities in the future for Athersys and its MultiStem franchise.
On the investor front, shortly after the conference in Rome concludes, Athersys will be represented at the 2013 Regen Med Investor Day to be held Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in New York City by Chairman and CEO Dr. Gil Van Bokkelen. Organized by the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in partnership with leading financial firms Burrill & Company, Maxim Group and Piper Jaffray, this flagship event features sixteen of the regenerative medicine field’s leading small- and mid-cap companies.
Dr. Van Bokkelen will be a presenter, exhibiting information on Athersys and MultiStem, as well as a panelist in a discussion on advanced approaches in regenerative medicine to address unmet medical need in the neurological area.
A live video webcast of the company presentations will be available at: http://alliancerm.org/rmdaywebcast and will also be published on the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s website shortly after the event.
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