Vials of MPC-150-IM, Mesoblastأ•s stem cell product seen in this handout photo received December 14, 2017. Mesoblast/Handout via REUTERS
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Two small companies, Athersys Inc. and Mesoblast Ltd., are beginning final stage trials in hundreds of patients that they – along with loyal investors – say could change the course of devastating stroke and heart failure.Cleveland-based Athersys, with a market value of about $200 million, demonstrated evidence in a midstage trial that its therapy may be able to expand the emergency treatment window for major strokes to up to 36 hours, compared with about four hours with current drugs, potentially allowing many more patients to avoid crippling disabilities.M&G is a longtime holder of Mesoblast, with a stake of about 15 percent, and Athersys, where it has a stake of about 4 percent.That trial, attempting to extend the treatment window to 48 hours, failed. But researchers were encouraged by patients treated up to 36 hours post stroke.The company plans to begin a 300-patient Phase III study of Multistem in early 2018, aiming for U.S. and European approval after regulators agreed to protocols for one pivotal trial.An ongoing Phase III trial of 600 advanced heart failure patients is currently enrolling.
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