Athersys (ATHX) Struggles With Merck & Co. (MRK) Superiority

Athersys ATHX stock newsAthersys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX)

On Friday, ATHX fell hard after releasing phase II study of MultiStem cell therapy for treatment of ischemic stroke data. The data showed that the treatment missed both primary and secondary end points; providing absolutely no benefit after 90 when compared to a placebo. As a result, the stock fell to a 52 week low. Unfortunately for Athersys, we’re not seeing any improvements today.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK)

Unfortunately for Athersys, Merck & Co.’s treatment proved to be far superior. In their most recent release of phase III study data of patients with advanced melanoma, Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) by MRK has demonstrated superior survival, progression free survival and overall response rate.

What We’re Seeing From ATHX And MRK Today


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  • Athersys – Athersys is still struggling in the market today. The reality is that this is another study that found that the company’s MultiStem therapy simply didn’t work. While the declines today are nowhere near what we saw Friday, they are bringing the stock to new lows. Currently (1:13), ATHX is trading at $1.38 after a decline of $1.79 so far today.
  • Merck & Co. – MRK on the other hand is having a great day in the market. After showing that their treatment demonstrates positive survival rates through phase III clinical data, investors seem to be excited about the stock. Currently (1:20), MRK is trading at $57.52 per share after a gain of 1.13% so far today.

What We Can Expect From Athersys And Merck & Co. Moving Forward

  • ATHX – Unfortunately, I think that I may be losing faith in ATHX. While I love to see biotech companies succeed, I just don’t see how they’re going to pull out of this one. This is yet another negative response to MultiStem therapy and just like last time, the stock has suffered tremendously because of it. Unfortunately, until ATHX proves that something they are working on is working, I’d say to stay away from this one.
  • MRK – On the other hand, I am pretty impressed with MRK. While I still don’t think that they are any competition to GILD, I do think that they’re a great company that continues to innovate and grow. With that said, I’m expecting to see long term gains from MRK stock.

What Do You Think?

Do you think ATHX can bounce back? Is MRK going to climb in the long run? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

1 thought on “Athersys (ATHX) Struggles With Merck & Co. (MRK) Superiority”

  1. Re: Athersys. The primary and secondary end points of the trial were missed.

    The data though appears to indicate that Multi-stem does have benefit, if administered soon enough. Enough was learned during this trial, that it seems likely that the next trial of Multi Stem for stroke will succeed.

    Time will tell, of course, but it is too early to lose faith on this one. It is also noteworthy that Chugai (Roche) has taken interest in it.

    As you can tell, I still have faith (and my fingers crossed).

    Reply

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