Shares of Athersys (ATHX -8.05%) were jumping 10.9% higher as of 3:17 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. The solid gain came after the company announced that its partner Healios completed enrollment in a clinical study being conducted in Japan evaluating regenerative stem cell therapy candidate MultiStem in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by pneumonia.
Completion of enrollment in a clinical study doesn't always serve as a catalyst for biotech stocks. In this case, though, investors seem to be optimistic that Healios' study will be positive and that Athersys will also be successful with its own study of MultiStem in treating ARDS.
Healios' clinical trial includes two patient cohorts. The larger cohort enrolled 30 patients with the goal of evaluating MultiStem in treating pneumonia-induced ARDS. The other cohort enrolled five patients with ARDS resulting from COVID-19. Athersys' own U.S. study includes participants with ARDS stemming from COVID-19 and other pathogens.
There currently aren't any effective drug treatments available for ARDS. Physicians have only limited intervention alternatives for the disorder that's characterized by severe inflammation in the lungs.
Athersys expects top-line results from Helios' study of MultiStem later this year. Helios also should announce results from its late-stage study of Athersys' stem cell therapy in treating ischemic stroke in 2021.