Athersys, Inc. Jumps 55% YTD Amid Growing Investor Interest

Published: Feb 12, 2013

February 12, 2013 -- Athersys Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company with a growing pipeline of highly differentiated, potential best in class therapeutics to treat significant and life-threatening diseases, is trading up more than 55% so far this year, amid heightened investor interest. First Eagle Investment Management LLC reported a sizable 7.93% stake in a Schedule 13G filing with the SEC this week, following similar investments made by Sabby Management LLC and other highly regarded funds. According to recent filings and company sources, institutional ownership now exceeds 40%, far higher than many peer companies.

Recent SEC filings indicate that large funds such as First Eagle Investment Management, Sabby Capital, Pappas Ventures, and Aspire Capital have each established greater than 5% ownership positions, with other large established healthcare funds also establishing meaningful ownership.

In a recent presentation at the 15th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, Athersys reached out to additional institutional investors alongside other companies like Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: NWBO) and DARA Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: DARA). The BIO CEO conference provides a venue for emerging biotech companies to present to institutional investors and establish business development relationships with larger established biotech companies. As a result, the conference has the potential to both generate strong interest in equities and drive potential longer-term catalysts.

Athersys also expects to report additional clinical data from its cell therapy programs over the next several quarters, including data from its Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) partnership and ongoing trial in ischemic stroke. Meanwhile, Athersys has publically announced partnering efforts around its 5HT2c program targeting obesity and schizophrenia, as well as interest in certain cell therapy programs. These upcoming milestones provide significant potential catalysts for the stock, as institutional investors bet on positive outcomes judging by their increasing ownership positions.

Here’s a copy of their latest PR announcing investor awareness initiatives:

Athersys, Inc. (ATHX) announced today that Gil Van Bokkelen, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will present at the 15thAnnual BIO CEO & Investor Conference to be held Monday, February 11, 2013, through Tuesday, February 12, 2013, at The Waldorf Astoria New York in New York City.

Details of Athersys’ participation are as follows:

Event: 15th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time: 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

Location: The Waldorf Astoria New York

The 15th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference assembles a select group of established biotech companies, as well as top public and private equity investors and members of the sell-side investment community, to explore the current investment landscape and opportunities in life sciences. In addition to plenary sessions and panel discussions on timely business topics and key therapeutic areas, the conference features presentations by over 130 leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as a number of nonprofit and venture philanthropy organizations.

About Athersys

Athersys is a clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem® cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived “off-the-shelf” stem cell product platform for disease indications in the cardiovascular, neurological, inflammatory and immune disease areas. The Company currently has several clinical stage programs involving MultiStem, including for treating inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic stroke, damage caused by myocardial infarction, and for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease. Athersys has also developed a diverse portfolio that includes other technologies and product development opportunities, and has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as world-renowned research institutions in the United States and Europe to further develop its platform and products. More information is available at

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