Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

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 reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $12.00 target price on shares of Athersys in a research report on Friday, September 1st.

Athersys (ATHX) traded up 6.716% during trading on Thursday, reaching $2.145. 3,177,596 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $1.68 and a 200 day moving average price of $1.51. The stock’s market capitalization is $244.34 million. Athersys has a 1-year low of $1.02 and a 1-year high of $2.30.

Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The biopharmaceutical company reported ($0.06) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.06). Athersys had a negative net margin of 729.07% and a negative return on equity of 121.47%. The firm had revenue of $0.67 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $0.96 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted ($0.08) EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Athersys will post ($0.24) earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, EVP John J. Harrington sold 36,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1.45, for a total value of $52,200.00. Following the completion of 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 legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 9.40% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its position in shares of Athersys by 345.5% in the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 88,561 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $134,000 after purchasing an additional 68,680 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Athersys by 27.2% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,432,695 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $2,161,000 after purchasing an additional 305,944 shares during the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada increased its position in shares of Athersys by 7,334.0% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 380,846 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $576,000 after purchasing an additional 375,723 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Athersys by 9.4% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,265,772 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $6,441,000 after purchasing an additional 366,572 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its position in shares of Athersys by 30.8% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,123,870 shares of the biopharmaceutical company’s stock worth $1,697,000 after purchasing an additional 264,549 shares during the last quarter. 19.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Athersys

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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