Athersys Files Shelf Registration to Replace Expiring S-3 Registration Statement

Athersys Files Shelf Registration to Replace Expiring S-3 Registration
Statement

CLEVELAND, Jan. 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Athersys, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHX)
announced today that it has filed a shelf registration statement with the
Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). The new shelf registration
statement will replace a similar registration filed in 2010 that will expire
later this month. Athersys currently does not have any immediate plans to
offer or sell the securities under this registration statement. As with the
previous shelf registration that is due to expire, the replacement
registration statement is intended to provide Athersys with financial
flexibility to raise capital from the offering of up to 20,000,000 shares of
common stock and/or warrants to purchase common stock, which could occur in
multiple transactions conducted over an extended period of time. When declared
effective, a shelf registration statement gives a company advance regulatory
approval to sell securities in one or more separate offerings in amounts and
at prices and terms to be determined at the time of the sale.

If the securities are issued, Athersys may use the proceeds for general
corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, research and development
costs, payment obligations and capital expenditures.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the
SEC, but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold, nor
may offers to buy be accepted, prior to the time the registration statement
becomes effective. This press release shall not constitute a solicitation of
an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state
in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the
registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state. Any
offer of these securities will be made solely by means of the prospectus
included in the registration statement and any prospectus supplement that may
be issued with respect to such offering.

A copy of the prospectus included in the registration statement may be
obtained on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. In addition, when available,
copies of the prospectus, and any prospectus supplement relating to a
particular offering, may be obtained by contacting Athersys, Inc., attention:
Laura Campbell, 3201 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2634,
lcampbell@athersys.com.

About Athersys

Athersys is a clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery
and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and
enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem^®
cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell
product platform for disease indications in the cardiovascular, neurological,
inflammatory and immune disease areas. The Company currently has several
clinical stage programs involving MultiStem, including for treating
inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic stroke, damage caused by myocardial
infarction, and for the prevention of graft versus host disease. Athersys has
also developed a diverse portfolio that includes other technologies and
product development opportunities, and has forged strategic partnerships and
collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as
well as world-renowned research institutions in the United States and Europe
to further develop its platform and products. More information is available at
www.athersys.com.

The Athersys, Inc. logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4548

CONTACT: William (B.J.) Lehmann, J.D.
         President and Chief Operating Officer
         Tel: (216) 431-9900
         bjlehmann@athersys.com
        
         Investor Relations:
         Lisa M. Wilson
         In-Site Communications
         Tel: (917) 543-9932
         lwilson@insitecony.com

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