Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares in Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) jumped by 10% earlier today after the company announced that it will present data from a phase 2 trial of its MultiStem therapy at an upcoming conference in Europe.
So What: Athersys is a clinical stage biotechnology company that is using adult stem cells to develop stem cell therapies for various indications, including ischemic stroke.
The company will present data from its phase 2 MultiStem trial in ischemic stroke patients at the European Stroke Organization Conference on Sunday, April 19th, and that presentation will provide the first look at un-blinded phase 2 data evaluating MultiStem's ability to improve patient outcomes following a stroke. In previous trials, Athersys has reported that MultiStem reduces inflammation in the ischemic area and can protect, and even rescue, damaged or injured cells, including brain tissue.
Now What: Stroke is an increasingly common and costly disease with few treatment options. Over 15 million people suffer strokes globally ever year, including 2 million people in American, Europe, and Japan. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that direct and indirect costs associated with stroke totals more than $53 billion.
Since the chances of having a stroke increase with age and roughly half of Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, there's a significant need for new treatments as baby boomers get older.
For that reason, investors are right to keep an eye on Athersys' phase 2 results. However, investors should also recognize that despite being around since 1995, Athersys still doesn't have any commercial products on the market and very little in the way of collaboration revenue. That makes Athersys a very risky play suited only to the most speculative of investors.