Athersys (ATHX) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Athersys is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The company’s lead product candidate, ATHX-105, is an oral, selective 5HT2c receptor agonist in Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of obesity. The company is also developing other orally active pharmaceutical product candidates for the treatment of metabolic and central nervous system disorders, utilizing proprietary technologies, including Random Activation of Gene Expression (RAGE). Athersys is developing MultiStem(r), its patented, adult-derived “off the shelf” stem cell product platform, for multiple disease indications, including damage caused by myocardial infarction, bone marrow transplantation/oncology support, ischemic stroke and other indications. “

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A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on ATHX. Maxim Group set a $6.00 price target on shares of Athersys and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Athersys from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, March 22nd.

Shares of ATHX opened at $2.02 on Wednesday. Athersys has a 52-week low of $1.29 and a 52-week high of $2.63.

Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, March 13th. The biopharmaceutical company reported ($0.11) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.07) by ($0.04). The company had revenue of $1.17 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $0.42 million. Athersys had a negative net margin of 869.50% and a negative return on equity of 123.22%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 19.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned ($0.10) EPS. analysts expect that Athersys will post -0.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Athersys news, insider William Lehmann, Jr. sold 14,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1.89, for a total transaction of $26,460.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 481,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately $910,928.97. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP John J. Harrington sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1.84, for a total transaction of $27,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 9.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of ATHX. State Street Corp increased its holdings in Athersys by 27.2% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,432,695 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $2,161,000 after acquiring an additional 305,944 shares in the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its holdings in Athersys by 345.5% during the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 88,561 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $134,000 after acquiring an additional 68,680 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in Athersys by 11.8% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 318,038 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $656,000 after acquiring an additional 33,498 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its holdings in Athersys by 35.3% during the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 167,176 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $345,000 after acquiring an additional 43,600 shares in the last quarter. Finally, OxFORD Asset Management LLP purchased a new position in Athersys during the 3rd quarter valued at about $178,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 19.29% of the company’s stock.

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About Athersys

Athersys, Inc is an international biotechnology company that is focused primarily in the field of regenerative medicine. The Company’s MultiStem cell therapy, an allogeneic stem cell product, is its lead platform product and is in later-stage clinical development. Its clinical development programs are focused on treating neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory and immune disorders, certain pulmonary conditions and other conditions where the standard of care is limited or inadequate for many patients.

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