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Athersys Inc (NASDAQ:ATHX) Is Today's Biotech Focus

Athersys Inc (NASDAQ:ATHX) Is Today's Biotech Focus
Written by
Jarrod Wesson
Published on
April 5, 2017
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Today, we are bring a new interesting company to Insider Financial, Athersys, Inc (NASDAQ:ATHX). This pharmaceutical company was targeted by many investors last week after it posted its fourth quarter report of 2016. Also, it was announced that Gil Van Bokkelen, Chairman and CEO, was going to present a corporate overview at the 16th Annual Needham Healthcare Conference at The Westin New York Grand Central Hotel.

The share price went from $1.20 to touch the level of $2.0 in a period of just three days, take a look at the chart as well as the high volume:


For those who have not gotten to know Athersys, Inc., let me give you a brief introduction. Athersys, Inc. is a very old player with a lot of expertise accumulated. It was created in 1995. It is a biotechnology company researching in the field of regenerative medicine. According to its most recent 10-k, the therapies that the company aims at developing are designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. Its main product is called MultiStem, which consists of an allogeneic stem cell product, being in later-stage of clinical development. If you want to obtain more information about the products being developed, you can find them here.

Financial results

The new financial figures were released on March 9, 2017. The company highlighted several key milestones achieved in 2016, but in our opinion, the most important was that Athersys received an agreement from the FDA for the design and planned analysis of the Phase 3 MASTERS-2 ischemic stroke clinical trial. In addition, the announcement of the collaboration with HEALIOS K.K. (Healios) to develop MultiStem cell therapy for stroke in Japan was also remarkable.

Investors expect the final approval of the MultiStem product from the FDA in near future, and this is affecting the share price. This vision was also shared by Dr. Van Bokkelen, Chairman and CEO, who commented the following:

"Last year, we accomplished several very important objectives and over the course of the year, we worked closely with Healios on regulatory matters to support their efforts to obtain authorization from the PMDA to enable commencement of the TREASURE clinical study. As a result, we believe that Healios is well-positioned to take advantage of Japan's innovative regulatory framework for the development, assessment and efficient approval of MultiStem for the treatment of ischemic stroke. The recently obtained priority review designation under Sakigake reinforces the strength of this program and our shared commitment to successful development with Healios. This achievement is consistent with the Special Protocol Assessment recently obtained from the FDA for our planned international Phase 3 study. Both represent important milestones for this program and lay out an efficient potential path for development toward marketing approval." Source

The company recorded $1.0 million in revenues and a net loss of $7.1 million for the fourth quarter. The total revenues for the year 2016 were $17.3 million and the company showed a net loss of $15.3 million. Athersys, Inc ended 2016 with $14.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

16th Annual Needham Healthcare Conference

The share price reacted substantially on March 29, 2017 when the company announced that Gil Van Bokkelen, Chairman and CEO, was delivering a speech about the operations of the company at the Needham Healthcare Conference on April 4 at 12:10 pm ET. Shareholders may access a webcast of the presentation in the Investors Section on the Company's website. We cannot foresee whether the CEO can comment something new about the company, but the fact that the share price reacted to this announcement may mean that other market participants had inside information and they bought on it last week. Also, someone possibly profited from this press release and used it to manipulate the stock, buying a large amount of shares recently to perhaps sell them later at a higher level.

What are the insider and the institutional investors doing?

This company is a biotechnological entity at an early stage. In order to understand the future of the company, we may need to know a lot about its product. As we do not count with a respected doctor in our team, we cannot really assess whether the MultiStem will be finally commercialized. However, we can get a lot of information from the transactions of insiders and institutional traders. The percentage of the total outstanding shares held by institutions is 9.93%, whereas the percentage held by institutional traders is 9.20%.

The following insider transactions were registered by the SEC in March and February:

  • CAMPBELL LAURA K sold 4,151 shares at $1.15 per share (Mar 17, 201)
  • HARRINGTON JOHN J sold 6,088 shares at $1.15 per share (Mar 17, 2017)
  • LEHMANN WILLIAM JR sold 6,224 shares at $1.15 per share (Mar 17, 2017)
  • VAN BOKKELEN GIL sold 9,746 shares at $1.15 per share (Mar 17, 2017)
  • KOLA ISMAIL bought 15,150 at $1.01 per share (Feb 1, 2017)
  • DAVIS JORDAN bought 249,975 shares at $1.01 per share (Feb 1, 2017)
  • CAMPBELL LAURA K bought 20,200 shares at $1.01 per share (Feb 1, 2017)

As you may have been able to see the insider transactions, you could have identified that $1.01 was cheap and some executives are selling above $1.15. Laura Campbell made a lot of money buying and selling in just two months. If you want to receive more real time information about insiders, subscribe to our newsletter. We normally cover this kind of information about this name and others.


Athersys, Inc. seems to be under the radar. Both the share price and the volume are showing that investors' interest in the stock is growing. We will be monitoring Athersys as more information comes out. For the latest updates on ATHX, sign up below!

Disclosure: We have no position in ATHX and have not been compensated for this article.

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