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Cassava: A Controversial Top Pick

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This afternoon (Tuesday, Nov 9), the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) conference will kick off in Boston. Cassava Sciences (SAVA) will be among those making presentations over the next few days with a poster titled, “Interim Results of an Open-label Study of Simufilam in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease.”

B. Riley analyst Mayank Mamtani expects the presentation to include a more rounded update of the topline 12-month cognition efficacy data released toward the end of Q3.

Recall, simufilam’s clinical trial results so far include feats no other AD treatments have yet to achieve; following 6 months, 9 months, and then a 12-month analysis, patients’ cognitive behavior still improved.

But those remarkable feats have encountered push back as their credibility has been questioned after a citizen petition filed with the FDA alleged that Cassava’s data gathering and analysis methods were misleading and the results weren’t as they appeared to be.

Meanwhile, the stock’s fortunes have closely mirrored that of the real-world developments, first soaring dramatically in the early part of the year and then handing back to market a huge chunk of the gains as investors lost confidence.

But the pendulum has swung back in Cassava’s favor recently, boosted by a peer-reviewed article which concluded that there is no evidence data had been manipulated in a Cassava article published in July 2012 which informs the basis of the company’s approach to treat Alzheimer's disease.

So, all clear for the bulls? It’s not quite that simple.

“While this may have exonerated SAVA from one paper's potential misdoings,” says Mamtani, “it is worth noting that CP remains an overhang with other issues, i.e., additional published papers, both by SAVA, and to a lesser extent Dr. Wang (Cassava’s scientific advisor) who has his research findings surrounding simufilam independently being reviewed by CUNY; however, this may be the most critical absolution, since SAVA's underlying patent dealt largely with the science provided in this article.”

Mamtani, therefore, keeps Cassava as a “controversial top pick” and rates the stock a Buy rating. His $108 price target suggests shares will climb ~38% over the next 12 months. (To watch Mamtani’s track record, click here)

Mamtani’s colleagues are thinking along the same lines; all 3 other recent reviews are positive, providing the stock with a Strong Buy consensus rating. That said, Mamtani’s price objective appears a conservative one; going by the $159.25 average target, shares will rise 103% in the year ahead. (See SAVA stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for biotech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.