SOURCE: Streetwise Reports

Streetwise Reports

August 13, 2015 06:00 ET

The Next Phase for MultiStem: Athersys' Gil Van Bokkelen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - August 13, 2015) - Regenerative medicine is surging toward the mainstream, and Athersys Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX) is riding the crest. Potential safety concerns surrounding cell therapies have been largely addressed, and now the efficacy of the company's MultiStem platform in several massive markets, including stroke, heart attack and acute pulmonary disease, are ready to be tested. As the company advances its portfolio of programs, Chairman and CEO Gil Van Bokkelen tells The Life Sciences Report about the promise that MultiStem holds for both patients and investors.

The Life Sciences Report: What is your lead indication currently?

Gil Van Bokkelen: Our program for treating ischemic stroke is our most important, and I would say this program clearly has the greatest potential both clinically and from a financial perspective. Stroke is one of the biggest areas of unmet need, and represents a huge market.

That being said, we have some other very exciting programs, including our ongoing trial in patients who have suffered damage from a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, as well as another program to treat patients suffering from severe acute respiratory distress. Each of these represents a major area of unmet medical need, and we believe each could also be a multibillion-dollar market opportunity.

Most patients who have a stroke don't get to the hospital in time to get diagnosed and treated with tPA -- only about 10% or less. There is great need for new therapies that could extend the treatment window by a meaningful amount -- out to a clinically practical time frame so that more patients could be treated. Published studies indicate that more than 90% of stroke patients get to the hospital within 24 hours, and we and our advisors estimate that 95% or more of stroke patients reach the hospital within 36 hours. Extending the tPA treatment window out to 36 hours could have a major impact on stroke care.

Our trial results provide evidence that administration of MultiStem within 36 hours of a stroke could be a very effective and safe treatment, and could help patients recover faster and more completely than the current standard of care may achieve. Specifically, from our more recent analysis, we learned that when MultiStem was administered within 36 hours of the time of the stroke to patients that received either no other form of treatment or received either tPA or mechanical reperfusion, 44.4% achieved good or excellent recovery in all three clinical rating scales used to evaluate patients, in comparison to only 17.3% of patients who received placebo. In other words, there was a 27.1% absolute increase in the number of patients that achieved a good or excellent outcome if they were treated with MultiStem within 36 hours. That is a huge increase, and is exactly what patients, clinicians and the healthcare system have been looking for.

We are now in the planning stages for the next phase of clinical development. . .

Continue reading this interview: The Next Phase for MultiStem: Athersys' Gil Van Bokkelen

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Athersys Inc. is a sponsor of The Life Sciences Report. Athersys Inc., represented by Gil Van Bokkelen, had final approval of the content of the interview and is wholly responsible for the validity of the statements. Opinions expressed are the opinions of Mr. Van Bokkelen and not of The Life Sciences Report or its officers.

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