CLEVELAND, Ohio, Nov. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Athersys, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHX) announced today that it has secured three Therapeutic Discovery Project grants as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. These grants were awarded related to Athersys' development of MultiStem ® for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), also known as heart attack, and other forms of cardiovascular disease, as well as for the treatment of multiple diseases causing acute tissue damage and chronic inflammation. MultiStem is currently being developed for the treatment of AMI, Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD) following bone marrow transplant, inflammatory bowel disease, and stroke. Additionally, one of the three awarded grants was secured to advance Athersys' pharmaceutical development program in obesity. Athersys is developing compounds that selectively stimulate the 5HT2c serotonin receptor in the brain, which is known to play an important role in regulating appetite. The Therapeutic Discovery Project grants totaled more than $730,000 in aggregate. Athersys also announced today that it has secured a $140,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to advance research and development of its novel MultiStem product platform as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease. The research funded by the grant is intended to confirm and extend previous observations regarding the efficacy of MultiStem in rodent models of Parkinson's disease, with the goal of accelerating the potential clinical application of these cells for patients who suffer from the disease. "We are proud of the innovative work we have been conducting in these areas of true unmet medical need," said Gil Van Bokkelen, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Athersys. "These grants not only underscore the promise and potential of our MultiStem platform and our obesity program, but help Athersys advance our research and clinical development activities across several key disease areas and accelerate our ongoing efforts to develop novel, safe and effective treatments for patients suffering from these conditions. We look forward to continuing to work with our development partners and to forging research relationships with visionary foundations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to help us reach this goal."
About The Michael J. Fox FoundationThe Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today. The Foundation has funded over $205 million in research to date. More information can be found at www.michaeljfox.org . About MultiStem MultiStem is a patented and proprietary product consisting of a clinical grade preparation of non-embryonic stem cells obtained from bone marrow that have the potential to produce a range of factors and form multiple cell types. MultiStem appears to work through several mechanisms, but a primary mechanism appears to be the production of therapeutic proteins and other molecules produced in response to inflammation and tissue damage. Athersys believes that MultiStem represents a unique "off-the-shelf" stem cell product based on its apparent ability to be used without tissue matching or immunosuppression and its capacity for large-scale production. About Athersys Athersys is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical 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 MultiStem ®, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell product platform for multiple disease indications, including damage caused by myocardial infarction, bone marrow transplantation and oncology treatment support, ischemic stroke, and inflammatory bowel disease. The Company is also developing a portfolio of other therapeutic programs, including orally active pharmaceutical product candidates for the treatment of metabolic and central nervous system disorders, utilizing proprietary technologies, including Random Activation of Gene Expression (RAGE ®). Athersys has forged several key strategic alliances 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 www.athersys.com . The Athersys logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4548 . Forward Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, the expected timetable for development of our product candidates, our growth strategy, and our future financial performance, including our operations, economic performance, financial condition, prospects, and other future events. We have attempted to identify forward-looking statements by using such words as "anticipates," "believes," "can," "continue," "could," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "plans," "potential," "should," "will," or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and are largely based on our current expectations. A number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could affect the accuracy of these statements. Some of the more significant known risks that we face that could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied by forward-looking statements are the risks and uncertainties inherent in the process of discovering, developing, and commercializing products that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, such as the uncertainty regarding market acceptance of our product candidates and our ability to generate revenues, including MultiStem for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, AMI and other disease indications, and the prevention of GvHD. These risks may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from any future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Other important factors to consider in evaluating our forward-looking statements include: the possibility of delays in, adverse results of, and excessive costs of the development process; our ability to successfully initiate and complete a Phase II clinical trial of MultiStem for AMI; changes in external market factors; changes in our industry's overall performance; changes in our business strategy; our ability to protect our intellectual property portfolio; our possible inability to realize commercially valuable discoveries in our collaborations with pharmaceutical and other biotechnology companies; our ability to meet milestones under our collaboration agreements, our possible inability to execute our strategy due to changes in our industry or the economy generally; changes in productivity and reliability of suppliers; and the success of our competitors and the emergence of new competitors. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACT: Athersys, Inc. William (B.J.) Lehmann, J.D., President and COO (216) 431-9900 email@example.com In-Site Communications Investor Relations Lisa M. Wilson (917) 543-9932 firstname.lastname@example.org Pure Communications, Inc. Media Relations: Dan Budwick 973-271-6085 email@example.com