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Cassava (SAVA) Stock Up on Alzheimer's Candidate Update

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Cassava Sciences’ SAVA stock rose 12.7% on Monday after it provided a clinical update on its Alzheimer’s disease candidate, a small molecule oral drug simufilam.

The company announced that it has completed enrollment of 150 patients in its open-label study of simufilam, which was initiated last year.

In February 2021, Cassava Sciences announced encouraging interim data from the open label study. Both cognition and behaviour scores of patients improved following six months of treatment with simufilam, with no safety issue observed. Safety and cognition data for the first 50 participants to complete nine months of treatment with simufilam from the open label study is expected to be presented at the 2021 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in July.

Importantly, Cassava Sciences maintained its plan to initiate two pivotal phase III studies to evaluate simufilam for mild-to-moderate AD dementia in the second half of 2021. The company announced that it has selected Premier Research International as its clinical research organization (CRO) to help conduct the phase III studies on simufilam.

The company’s stock has skyrocketed 1215.6% this year so far against the industry’s decrease of 9.6%.

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Overall, the Alzheimer’s disease market has been attracting a lot of interest after the FDA, earlier this month, granted accelerated approval to Biogen BIIB and its partner Eisai’s controversial treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm (aducanumab).

Aduhelm has been approved to reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques, a sticky protein, in the brain, which is believed to lead to progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the controversial FDA decision has generated several headlines. Interestingly, the FDA approved Aduhelm despite an FDA advisory committee voting against its approval in November last year due to mixed outcomes data from ENGAGE and EMERGE phase III studies.

The FDA approval has faced a lot of criticism as some analysts believe the drug was not backed by strong evidence of efficacy. Aduhelm also comes with a hefty price tag of $56,000 a year, which has been widely condemned.

However, another group of analysts cheered the drug’s approval despite questionable study results because of the drug’s ability to remove amyloid from the brain and its potential to provide meaningful benefit in preventing progression of this disease.

In fact, the approval of Aduhelm not only boosted Biogen’s stock but also those of Eli Lilly LLY, Cassava and Annovis Bio ANVS as these companies also have AD candidates in their portfolio. The FDA approval of Aduhelm improves the likelihood that these companies will also gain approval for their Alzheimer’s candidates which boosted their stock’s the day Aduhelm was approved.

Cassava Sciences currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Biogen Inc. (BIIB) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Cassava Sciences, Inc. (SAVA) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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