Athersys Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX), a clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life, has received a number of grants to support its clinical studies, including an SBIR Fast Track grant of up to $2.8 million to support the Phase II clinical trial of MultiStem for heart attack patients. These grants and other financing efforts contributed to nearly $18.9 million in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of the second quarter of this year. The company announced this morning that it had $17.8 million in cash and equivalents as of the end of the third quarter, reflecting only a modest reduction in cash on the balance sheet for the most recent quarter.
This week, the company announced that it signed a new agreement with Aspire Capital Fund LLC to replace its prior two-year agreement with the right to sell up to $25 million in common stock under certain conditions over a two-year period. The agreement helps ensure that Athersys has the funding necessary to complete its clinical trials and ultimately bring its revolutionary MultiStem platform to market for the treatment of numerous disease and conditions, including stroke, heart attack, IBD, and other areas where regenerative medicine can help.
Investors in regenerative medicine companies, such as Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: PSTI) or Cytori Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CYTX), may want to take a closer look at the stock given its solid financial footing and ongoing clinical trials. Many upcoming catalysts could send the stock higher, including Phase II IBD results expected in Q1 2014, Phase II stroke results expected in mid-2014, and the potential initiation of additional trials, including a GvHD Phase II/III trial, and the Phase II trial in the cardiovascular area, which will be supported by NIH grant funding as mentioned above.
According to a release issued by the company this morning (which may be accessed here):
Athersys, Inc. (ATHX) announced today that it has put in place a new equity facility with Aspire Capital Fund, LLC to replace the prior two-year agreement that has ended. Under the new agreement, Athersys has the right to sell up to $25 million in shares of common stock to Aspire Capital under certain conditions over a two-year period. The agreement represents an additional tool for accessing capital to complement business collaborations, grants and traditional fundraising, and as such, provides the Company with added financial strength and flexibility. As of the September 30, 2013, the Company had $17.8 million of cash and cash equivalents available to fund operations, from a total of $25.5 million at the beginning of 2013.
"The prior agreement worked very well to complement our other business, fundraising and operational activities and enabled us to sell shares from time-to-time on market-based terms to a committed, long-time investor with substantial share ownership," commented William Lehmann, President and Chief Operating Officer of Athersys. "As we have done in the past, we would intend to use the facility when we feel it is appropriate to help support the achievement of our operational objectives."
The elements of the new facility are consistent with the prior facility and include:
-The Company controls the timing and amount of any sales of common stock to Aspire Capital at a known price;
-Aspire Capital cannot require the Company to make sales, but is obligated to make purchases as the Company directs in accordance with the terms of the agreement; and
-No limitations on use of proceeds, financial covenants, restrictions on future financings, rights of first refusal, participation rights, penalties or liquidated damages.
-More information is available in the Company's Current Report on Form 8-K, filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Athersys is a clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem(R) cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell product platform for disease indications in the cardiovascular, neurological, inflammatory and immune disease areas. The Company currently has several clinical stage programs involving MultiStem, including for treating inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic stroke, damage caused by myocardial infarction, and for the prevention of graft versus host disease. Athersys has also developed a diverse portfolio that includes other technologies and product development opportunities, and has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as world-renowned research institutions in the United States and Europe to further develop its platform and products. More information is available at http://www.athersys.com/.
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