doctor beats headphones Athersys cell therapy beats placebo
New data suggest that Athersys’ stem cell therapy just might work after all.
Stroke patients treated with MultiStem did significantly better than others who received a placebo, according to data collected one year after they received the treatment. on Thursday, Feb. 18, up from $1.45 at the end of the business day on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
That represents a reversal of fortunes for the Cleveland company: The trial was technically labeled a failure after early data did not hit goals that the company set in advance.
Thus, the company’s stock price fell by 58% during April 2015. Most of that drop occurred on the day that Athersys released the early data, which was collected three months after patients received treatment.
The new numbers look much better.
Of the 65 patients treated with MultiStem, 23.1% achieved a complete or near full recovery after one year. Only 8.2% of the 61 placebo patients achieved that level of recovery, which is known as an “excellent outcome.”
Patients who received MultiStem within 36 hours after having the stroke did even better: 29% of those 31 patients achieved an excellent outcome.
The company suspected that would be the case, judging by the early data. Thus, CEO Gil Van Bokkelen and some stock analysts continued to tout the therapy’s potential.
Future clinical trials will focus on treating patients within 36 hours of the stroke, Van Bokkelen said in a news release announcing the results.
Even MultiStem patients who did not achieve an excellent outcome did better than the placebo group: They “had 1.6 fewer average hospitalization days, and an 11% lower proportion of patients with death or life threatening adverse events,” according to the news release.
Athersys aims to commercialize the technology in Japan first. That country has loosened regulations related to stem cell therapies.
And if Athersys can reproduce the results, pharmaceutical companies will “beat a path to Athersys’ door to see what else could be done” with the MultiStem technology, said Brozak, who has long been bullish on Athersys.
It previously had formed a partnership with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. However, after early data from the trial failed to meet expectations, the two companies ended the partnership.