Athersys Hikes on MultiStem Hookup with Japanese Firm

Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX) provided stirrings on markets Wednesday, amid word the company and Nikon CeLL Innovation agreed to collaborate on MultiStem commercial manufacturing in Japan.

The agreement between the Cleveland-based Athersys and Nikon CeLL innovation Co., Ltd. (NCLi) would cover commercial production of the former’s stem cell therapy, MultiStem®, in Japan for ischemic stroke. NCLi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon Corporation and provides a wide range of process development and manufacturing services, from pre-clinical to commercial manufacturing of cell and gene therapies.
Based on the agreement, Athersys and NCLi will engage in technology transfer activities at NCLi’s facility in Japan, and NCLi will begin contract manufacturing support for commercial development of the product in Japan. Athersys’ collaborator, HEALIOS K.K. (Healios), has an exclusive license to develop and market MultiStem in Japan for ischemic stroke, and is currently conducting its registrational clinical study, TREASURE, in Japan.
A news release issued Wednesday claimed therapeutic treatment with MultiStem may extend the stroke treatment window to 36 hours from the current three to four-and-a-half hours with existing standard of care, which would enable many more stroke patients to receive treatment than under the current standard of care and may also meaningfully enhance patient recovery.

Currently, there are nearly 17 million people that suffer a stroke globally and, on average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
Athersys shares gained 11 cents, or 4.9%, midday Wednesday to $2.34, within a 52-week trading range of $1.02 to $2.63.