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Athersys Narrows Loss, Shares Rise

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Athersys, Inc.’s (ATHX - Free Report) shares have been on an uptrend following the release of its third quarter 2013 results on Nov 14 after the close of market on that day. Overall, shares are up 8.2% since the announcement.

Athersys’ third quarter 2013 net loss of 10 cents per share was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago loss of 12 cents per share each, benefiting from higher number of shares.

Revenues in the third quarter of 2013 came in at $0.6 million compared with $1.0 million a year ago. The massive year-over-year decline was attributable to a reduction in contract revenues. Revenues in the third quarter of 2013 fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2 million.

Athersys is developing MultiStem for ulcerative colitis in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) . A double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II trial is ongoing with initial results expected in early 2014. MultiStem is also being evaluated for ischemic stroke (phase II, enrollment ongoing with initial results expected next summer). The company is preparing to initiate a phase II study on MultiStem for the acute myocardial infarction indication and a phase II/III for graft-versus-host disease.

Research and development (R&D) expenses for the third quarter of 2013 increased 14.2% to $4.7 million, driven by preclinical development costs, patent related fees, personnel costs and stock based compensation expenses. General administrative expenses at Athersys climbed 34.4% to $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. Higher stock-based compensation expense led to the increase.

Athersys carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Stocks such as Actelion Ltd. and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Free Report) currently look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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