Athersys, Inc. Advances Studies & Strengthens Balance Sheet in Q4 2012

Published: Mar 14, 2013

March 14, 2013 -- Athersys Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life, reported significant progress in its clinical trials, advancing ongoing partnering discussions and enhancing its capital position during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012.

Athersys raised $21.2 million in net proceeds during the fourth quarter of 2012, including the full exercise of underwriters’ over-allotment option, in a public offering of common stock to be used for working capital and to finance ongoing clinical trials. On the balance sheet, the financing contributed to a year-end cash position of approximately $25.5 million, which should provide capital for operations comfortably into 2014, excluding the impact of any new partnerships. The company is actively engaged in partnering discussions around several programs, including their small molecule 5HT2c agonist program for obesity and schizophrenia, and certain MultiStem® cell therapy programs.

Solid Clinical and Preclinical Progress

Athersys also made significant progress throughout FY 2012 within its clinical and preclinical pipeline. With Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), the company advanced its ongoing Phase II clinical study involving the administration of MultiStem® cells to patients suffering from ulcerative colitis. Initial results from the double blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 130 patients are expected in 2H 2013.

During the fourth quarter, the company also:

Advanced its Phase II clinical study of the administration of the MultiStem cell product to patients who have suffered ischemic stroke into the large efficacy cohort of this double blind, placebo-controlled trial of 136 patients.

Developed and submitted to FDA a clinical trial plan for conducting a Phase II-III study of MultiStem administration intended to both reduce the incidence and severity of graft-versus-host disease, or GvHD, and provide other benefits to transplant patients.

Received ten new patents during 2012 covering aspects of the company’s cell therapy technology, including issuances in the U.S. and other jurisdictions.

Announced progress in several key preclinical programs, including for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, and spinal cord injury.

Looking Ahead to FY 2013

Athersys continues to focus its resources on developing MultiStem for the treatment and prevention of diseases and conditions where there is a significant unmet medical need, according to Chairman and CEO Gil Van Bokkelen. Success in any of its current programs could open the door to a broader set of opportunities and partners in related areas.

Investors seem to be increasingly aware of this potential, too, with the stock jumping more than 50% over the past three months. With these trends showing few signs of stopping, investors may want to consider this promising biotech stock for their portfolio ahead of key clinical data expected to be released during the second half of the year.

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