Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

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. “

Separately, Maxim Group set a $12.00 price objective on Athersys and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, August 7th.

Shares of Athersys (NASDAQ ATHX) traded up 6.716% during trading on Thursday, hitting $2.145. The stock had a trading volume of 3,177,596 shares. Athersys has a 12 month low of $1.02 and a 12 month high of $2.30. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $1.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $1.51. The stock’s market cap is $244.34 million.

Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The biopharmaceutical company reported ($0.06) EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.06). Athersys had a negative return on equity of 121.47% and a negative net margin of 729.07%. The business had revenue of $0.67 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $0.96 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted ($0.08) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Athersys will post ($0.24) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Athersys news, EVP John J. Harrington sold 36,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1.45, for a total transaction of $52,200.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 712,743 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,033,477.35. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 9.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company boosted its position in shares of Athersys by 345.5% in the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 88,561 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $134,000 after purchasing an additional 68,680 shares during the period. State Street Corp lifted its position in Athersys by 27.2% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,432,695 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $2,161,000 after acquiring an additional 305,944 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada lifted its position in Athersys by 7,334.0% during the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 380,846 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $576,000 after acquiring an additional 375,723 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Athersys by 9.4% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,265,772 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $6,441,000 after acquiring an additional 366,572 shares during the period. Finally, Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in Athersys by 30.8% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,123,870 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $1,697,000 after acquiring an additional 264,549 shares during the period. 19.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Athersys Company Profile

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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