Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) plunges 40% after stem cell therapy flunks Phase II stroke trial Print E-mail
By David Fowler   
Friday, 17 April 2015 18:40

In-development stem cell treatment Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) failed in beating placebo in Phase II trial on stroke patients destroying the firm’s value as management looks for a positive spin.

The treatment, known as MultiStem, aims to reverse neurological damage which happen due to strokes and the firm employed 140 patients for testing whether injection can make a meaningful difference on Global Stroke Recovery Assessment scale.

The MultiStem did not succeed in making any important difference vis-a-vis placebo on primary endpoint and it failed on the secondary goals of improvement on other two actions of stroke rehabilitation.

This led to plummeting of the company shares by over 50% as investors move away from what seems like a worthless firm. MultiStem is the company’s only hope and after the debacle in inflammatory bowel disease previous year, stroke seemed to be the only chance in showing efficiency.

However, akin to all management, it does see a hope in the Phase II failure. Athersys has stated that the patients getting MultiStem earlier in treatment window were better as compared to those who got it later.

This group comprises of just 27 from 65 getting stem cell treatment. CEO Gil Van Bokkelen stated that those results did not succeed in meeting statistical significance yet was imperative in keeping the project alive.

Bokkalen felt that the evidence inkling patients receiving MultiStem treatment early were better is promising and he anticipates additional information and data from the study. The firm would be conducting more analysis for generating more information regarding the potential for MultiStem treatment in this area. The results would also be a blow to drugmaker Chugai from Japan, who bought the rights to MultiStem in the home country. Chugai had given $10 million up-front payment to Athersys and promised up to $195 million for development milestones.

Shares of the company slumped 40% to $1.30, off session low of $0.90 o hefty volume.


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