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Athersys Announces Authorization of Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Stroke in the United Kingdom

Athersys Announces Authorization of Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Stroke in the
United Kingdom

MHRA Authorizes Athersys to Expand Ongoing Phase 2 Clinical Trial of MultiStem
Cell Therapy in Ischemic Stroke

CLEVELAND, April 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Athersys, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHX)
announced today that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
(MHRA) has approved Athersys' application to expand its ongoing Phase 2 study
evaluating the administration of MultiStem^® therapy to patients who have
suffered an ischemic stroke. Enrollment at United Kingdom sites is expected to
commence following final Ethics Committee review and the completion of final
preparations at participating clinical centers.

"The MHRA authorization will enable us to bring several leading United Kingdom
stroke centers into the study, which will help us to speed the completion of
the stroke clinical trial," said Dr. Gil Van Bokkelen, Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer of Athersys. "The authorization is also noteworthy as it
marks the initiation of MultiStem clinical development activity in the United
Kingdom."

The Phase 2 study is a double blind, placebo-controlledtrial evaluating the
safety and efficacy of MultiStem cells when administered to patients who have
suffered a moderate to moderately severe stroke, as defined by a National
Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score of 8 to 20. Patients enrolled
in the study receive a single intravenous dose of MultiStem therapy or placebo
in the 24 to 36 hours following the stroke, which is a significant extension
of the current treatment window over existing standard of care. The study is
expected to enroll approximately 136 patients in total and is currently being
conducted at multiple centers throughout the United States.

About MultiStem

MultiStem^® cell therapy is a patented product that has shown the ability to
promote tissue repair and healing in a variety of ways, such as through the
production of multiple therapeutic factors produced in response to signals of
inflammation and tissue damage.MultiStem has demonstrated therapeutic
potential for the treatment of inflammatory and immune disorders, neurological
conditions, and cardiovascular disease, as well as other areas, and represents
a unique "off-the-shelf" stem cell product that can be manufactured in a
scalable manner, may be stored for years in frozen form, and is administered
without tissue matching or the need for immune suppression.The product is
extensively characterized for safety, consistency and potency.Athersys has
forged strategic partnerships with Pfizer Inc. to develop MultiStem for
inflammatory bowel disease and with RTI Biologics, Inc. to develop cell
therapy for use with a bone allograft product in the orthopedic market.

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.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and
uncertainties. These forward-looking statements relate to, among other things,
the expected timetable for development of our product candidates, our growth
strategy, and our future financial performance, including our operations,
economic performance, financial condition, prospects, and other future events.
We have attempted to identify forward-looking statements by using such words
as "anticipates," "believes," "can," "continue," "could," "estimates,"
"expects," "intends," "may," "plans," "potential," "should," "suggest,"
"will," or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are
only predictions and are largely based on our current expectations. A number
of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could affect the
accuracy of these statements. Some of the more significant known risks that we
face that could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied
by forward-looking statements are the risks and uncertainties inherent in the
process of discovering, developing, and commercializing products that are safe
and effective for use as human therapeutics, such as the uncertainty regarding
market acceptance of our product candidates and our ability to generate
revenues, including MultiStem for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease,
acute myocardial infarction, stroke and other disease indications, including
traumatic brain injury, and the prevention of graft-versus-host disease. These
risks may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or
achievements to differ materially from any future results, levels of activity,
performance, or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking
statements. Other important factors to consider in evaluating our
forward-looking statements include: our ability to raise additional capital;
final results from our MultiStem clinical trials including for ischemic
stroke; the possibility of delays in, adverse results of, and excessive costs
of the development process; our ability to successfully initiate and complete
clinical trials; changes in external market factors; changes in our industry's
overall performance; changes in our business strategy; our ability to protect
our intellectual property portfolio; our possible inability to realize
commercially valuable discoveries in our collaborations with pharmaceutical
and other biotechnology companies; our ability to meet milestones under our
collaboration agreements; our collaborators' ability to continue to fulfill
their obligations under the terms of our collaboration agreements; our
possible inability to execute our strategy due to changes in our industry or
the economy generally; changes in productivity and reliability of suppliers;
and the success of our competitors and the emergence of new competitors. You
should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in
this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise.

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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