Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $2.25 target price on the biopharmaceutical company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 8.70% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Athersys is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The company’s lead product candidate, ATHX-105, is an oral, selective 5HT2c receptor agonist in Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of obesity. The company is also developing other 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 is developing MultiStem(r), its patented, adult-derived “off the shelf” stem cell product platform, for multiple disease indications, including damage caused by myocardial infarction, bone marrow transplantation/oncology support, ischemic stroke and other indications. “

Separately, Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $12.00 price target on shares of Athersys in a research note on Friday, September 1st.

Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) traded up 0.98% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $2.07. The stock had a trading volume of 1,739,672 shares. The firm’s market capitalization is $235.80 million. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $1.63 and its 200 day moving average price is $1.48. Athersys has a one year low of $1.02 and a one year high of $2.30.

Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The biopharmaceutical company reported ($0.06) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.06). Athersys had a negative return on equity of 121.47% and a negative net margin of 729.07%. The company had revenue of $0.67 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $0.96 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted ($0.08) EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Athersys will post ($0.24) EPS for the current year.

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In related news, EVP John J. Harrington sold 36,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1.45, for a total transaction of $52,200.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 712,743 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,033,477.35. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 9.40% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ATHX. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Athersys by 19.5% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 3,899,200 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $6,668,000 after acquiring an additional 637,322 shares in the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada boosted its holdings in shares of Athersys by 7,334.0% during the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 380,846 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $576,000 after acquiring an additional 375,723 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Athersys by 27.2% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,432,695 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $2,161,000 after acquiring an additional 305,944 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Athersys by 30.8% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,123,870 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $1,697,000 after acquiring an additional 264,549 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Athersys by 35.2% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 756,004 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $1,292,000 after acquiring an additional 196,981 shares in the last quarter. 19.08% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Athersys Company Profile

Athersys, Inc is an international biotechnology company that is focused primarily in the field of regenerative medicine. The Company’s MultiStem cell therapy, an allogeneic stem cell product, is its lead platform product and is in later-stage clinical development. Its clinical development programs are focused on treating neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory and immune disorders, certain pulmonary conditions and other conditions where the standard of care is limited or inadequate for many patients.

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