Athersys (ATHX) has benefited from some upbeat buzz about its positive--though small--early-stage results for a prospective new stem cell therapy for victims of a heart attack. Patients who received a medium and high dose of its MultiStem therapy--a stem cell treatment derived from patients' bone marrow cells--demonstrated significantly improved heart function in a Phase I trial. A total of 19 patients were treated with the experimental therapy.
"We are encouraged by the results of this Phase I study, and based on these results, will work with our partner, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, on plans for a phase II trial to further evaluate safety and assess improvement in cardiac function" said Athersys CEO Gil Van Bokkelen. "This study is an important step and provides additional validation of the clinical potential and therapeutic profile of MultiStem as an off-the-shelf, allogeneic stem cell therapy, and we look forward to building off these results."
That sounded pretty good to investors, who drove the stock up 18 percent on the news. Late last year Pfizer inked a $111 million deal to license rights to develop Athersys' cell therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. But only $6 million of that was paid upfront.