In a Dec. 21 research note, Dawson James Securities analyst Jason Kolbert reports the differences between Athersys Inc.'s (ATHX:NASDAQ) MultiStem and Mesoblast's Remestemcel following the announcement that the trial of Remestemcel in COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) likely will not show efficacy of statistical significance.
This information is pertinent because Athersys also has a clinical trial underway in the same indication, in which two doses of its stem cell product, MultiStem, will be evaluated, the analyst noted. The open-label study, MACOVIA, currently is in the enrollment phase. The primary endpoint will be the number of ventilator-free days the patients have through day 28.
Kolbert presents three major differences between MultiStem and Remestemcel, as provided to him by Athersys management.
1) Cell type used: Whereas Mesoblast uses mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), Athersys uses multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), which "have been shown to have superior scalability" as well as "a different expression profile and greater therapeutic activity than traditional MSCs, which could translate to a higher effective differential, above and beyond the difference in dosing," Kolbert relayed.
Also, the potency of MSCs tends to wane after multiple passages whereas that of MAPCs does not. Rather, hundreds of thousands to millions of individual doses can be produced from the MAPCs of a single donor.
2) Number of cells per dose: One Remestemcel dose contains about 150 million cells. In contrast, one MultiStem dose contains about eight times as many, or 1.2 billion, cells.
3) Timing of dose administration: In its COVID-19 ARDS study, Mesoblast administered its doses within 72 hours of the ARDs diagnosis whereas in the MACOVIA study, Athersys will dose patients sooner, within 48 hours. Mesoblast's longer time to delivering Remestemcel may be negatively impacting its efficacy.
Kolbert reiterated that Dawson James' models on Athersys' MultiStem do not include ARDS. The firm has a Buy rating and a $7 per share target price on the Ohio-based biotech. Athersys' current share price is $1.92.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures for Dawson James Securities, Athersys Inc., December 21, 2020,
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