Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc. (NYSEMKT:AST) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company. It is focused on the field of regenerative medicine. The Company’s technologies center on stem cells capable of becoming all of the cell types in the human body, a property called pluripotency. It develops therapies based on pluripotent stem cells to treat diseases or injuries in a variety of medical fields, with an initial focus on the therapeutic areas of neurology and oncology. Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is based in Menlo Park, California. “

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on AST. FBR & Co restated a buy rating on shares of Asterias Biotherapeutics in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. HC Wainwright reiterated a buy rating and set a $10.00 price objective on shares of Asterias Biotherapeutics in a research note on Sunday, September 11th. Finally, Chardan Capital assumed coverage on Asterias Biotherapeutics in a research note on Monday, May 23rd. They set a buy rating and a $5.50 price objective for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $7.75.

Asterias Biotherapeutics (NYSEMKT:AST) opened at 4.51 on Monday. The company’s market cap is $204.84 million. Asterias Biotherapeutics has a 52 week low of $2.30 and a 52 week high of $5.75. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $3.22 and a 200-day moving average price of $3.57.

Asterias Biotherapeutics (NYSEMKT:AST) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 15th. The company reported ($0.12) earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of ($0.19) by $0.07. The business earned $1.53 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.14 million. Equities research analysts anticipate that Asterias Biotherapeutics will post ($0.73) EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Asterias Biotherapeutics news, COO Katharine E. Spink sold 19,336 shares of Asterias Biotherapeutics stock in a transaction on Friday, September 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $3.52, for a total value of $68,062.72. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Edward Wirth sold 14,760 shares of Asterias Biotherapeutics stock in a transaction on Friday, September 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $3.52, for a total value of $51,955.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics by 114.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 586,720 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,408,000 after buying an additional 313,067 shares during the last quarter. Sabby Management LLC acquired a new stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics during the second quarter worth approximately $741,000. BlackRock Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics by 100.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC now owns 73,307 shares of the company’s stock worth $176,000 after buying an additional 36,782 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics by 55.7% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 54,406 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,000 after buying an additional 19,469 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics by 5.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 96,218 shares of the company’s stock worth $452,000 after buying an additional 5,000 shares during the last quarter.

About Asterias Biotherapeutics

Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc is a biotechnology company. The Company is focused in the field of regenerative medicine. It has three clinical stage product candidates: AST-OPC1 indicated for spinal cord injuries; AST-VAC2 indicated for lung cancer, and AST-VAC1 indicated for prostate cancer and acute myelogenous leukemia.

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