Athersys (ATHX) Climbs On Partnership Agreement

Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX)

Athersys is having a great day in the market today after announcing that a partnership agreement has been signed with Healios. Today, we’ll discus the details of the partnership agreement, what we’re seeing from ATHX in the market as a result, and what we can expect to see from the stock moving forward. So, let’s get right to it…

Athersys Climbs On Healios Partnership Agreement

As mentioned above, Athersys announced today that it has entered into a partnership and licensing agreement with Healios. This new partnership focuses on the development and commercialization of Athersys’ novel cell therapy treatments – most importantly MultiStem – for the treatment of ischemic stroke in Japan. The companies will also be working together to find other potential indications.

According to the agreement, Healios will be granted exclusive rights with regard to the development of MultiStem for the treatment of ischemic stroke in Japan. The company will be in charge of not only the development of the treatment, but commercialization in the region. ATHX will retain all rights to the treatment outside of Japan. Healios will also be granted an exclusive license to incorporate Athersys technology in the development and commercialization fo the company’s “organ bud” technology, which is being designed for the treatment of liver disease or dysfunction.

When it comes to the finances associated with the agreement, ATHX will receive an initial payment in the amount of $15 million. The company will also be entitled to milestone and royalty payments. In terms of development and approval milestones, ATHX could receive up to $30 million. That number could climb to $185 million if the treatment is successfully commercialized. Also, upon commercialization, Athersys will be provided with tiered, double-digit royalties, which increase into the high teens. In a statement, Dr. Kiyohiro Houkin, Chairman and Professor of Neurosurgery at Hokkaido University Medical School and President of Hokkaido University Hospital had the following to say:

Stroke represents a major problem, both in Japan and globally. Currently available treatments such as tPA and mechanical thrombectomy must be administered within the first several hours after the stroke occurs, limiting treatment to a small percentage of patients, and such interventions may also pos certain risks… The recently conducted international clinical study by Athersys in the U.S. and the U.K. suggests that intravenous administration of MultiStem within 36 hours of the occurance of a stroke is safe, well-tolerated, and is a beneficial and effective treatment.”

How The Market Is Reacting To The News

As investors, we’ve come to expect that any time we see positive data with regard to a publicly traded company, we can expect to see gains in the value of the stock. That’s exactly the case today. Currently (9:35), ATHX is trading at $1.23 after a gain of 19.42% so far today.

What We Can Expect To See Moving Forward

Moving forward, I have a relatively bullish opinion with regard to what we can expect to see from ATHX. The new license agreement provides the company with a decent sum of money to further grow operations. Not to mention, as we move further down the road and the stroke treatment is approved and commercialized in Japan, further profitability will result. All in all, things are looking good for Athersys!

What Do You Think?

Where do you think ATHX is headed moving forward? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

[Image Courtesy of Athersys]

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