Athersys, Inc. (ATHX) is a small cap biotech stock that appears to have significant potential. What is initially intriguing about Athersys is that it holds proprietary Cell-Based Biology Platforms that aids in expediting drug discovery. One platform, Random Activation of Gene Suppression (RAGE) "can be used to produce human cell lines expressing virtually any protein encoded in the human genome, without requiring the cloning and isolation of individual genes." The RAGE technology portfolio includes 11 issued U.S. patents, pending patents, and international patents. Their other platform, Genome-wide, Cell-based Knock-out (GECKO) is a compliment to RAGE in that GECKO is proprietary, genetic technology that leads to the rapid identification of gene function, directly linking the gene to its role in the cell's biology and acceleration the functional validation of human genes. One does not need to be a scientist to understand the importance and value of having platforms that expedite drug discovery.
What is at the forefront of Athersys is MultiStem. MultiStem is a proprietary stem cell therapy that can potentially be utilized across a wide variety of platforms. "MultiStem consists of a special class of human stem cells that have the ability to express a range of therapeutically relevant proteins and other factors, as well as form multiple cell types. Factors expressed by MultiStem have the potential to deliver a therapeutic benefit in several ways, such as reducing inflammation, protecting damaged or injured tissue, and enhancing the formation of new blood vessels in regions of ischemic injury. These cells exhibit a drug-like profile in that they act primarily through the production of multiple factors that regulate the immune system, protect damaged or injured cells, promote tissue repair and healing, and the cells are subsequently cleared from the body over time." Athersys states "MultiStem represents a potential best-in-class stem cell therapy because it exhibits each of the following characteristics based on research and development to date: (1) it may be produced on an industrial scale, in a well validated and reproducible manner; (2) it may be administered without tissue matching, making it analogous to type O blood; (3) it exhibits a consistent safety profile; and (4) it appears capable of delivering therapeutic benefit through multiple mechanisms of action."