Cassava Sciences Announces Promising Phase 2 Results of New Alzheimer’s Drug

The company Cassava Sciences has announced today that its Alzheimer’s drug, has shown promise and effectivity in treating patients in a Phase 2 study. This was announced in an official press release by the company on its website.

Alzheimer’s disease is a very difficult disease to navigate through for both the patients and their families. It affects more than 5 million people in America but there is little information available on how this degenerative disease works, and how to treat it.

In a new development, Cassava Sciences has found that their drug, sumifilam, does work in improving cognition of some of the patients suffering from this disease. The extensive study data will be presented at H.C. Wainwright’s 22nd Annual Global Investment Conference, according to the company.

Founder and CEO of the company, Remi Barbier shared, “We feel that this is a drug that finally can offer some real hope to patients who have Alzheimer’s, as well as people who have a family history of Alzheimer’s”.

In the preliminary data released by the company in the press release it was shown that the phase 2 trial was conducted in 64 patients. Subjects that were treated with the drug had improvements in multiple disease-indicating biomarkers and cognition tests compared to patients treated with a placebo.

According to data, patients treated with 100mg of sumifilam had an 18% decrease in total tau levels and a 14% increase in amyloid beta42. This is significant as in Alzheimer’s disease, tau levels are high and amyloid beta42 is low. Another area of improvement was the memory of the patients. Subjects treated with the drug showed improvements in memory tests as well. However, the memory results were not statistically significant.

Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease. It causes cell death in the brain over period of time. This leads to confusion and memory loss in the patients. Though the disease is common in older adults, one in ten people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s dementia.

It also affects women, African Americas and Hispanics more than their other counterparts. The disease can actually be fatal and is right now the sixth leading cause of death in America.

Not a lot is known about how this disease works but what the scientists know is this. There are two proteins found in the brain of human beings; beta-amyloid and tau. In Alzheimer’s these proteins are found in an abnormal level. These proteins are toxic in nature and form tangles and clumps. These accumulated proteins than disrupt cell function.

Nowadays many of the drugs in development focus on how these accumulated proteins can be cleared out of the brain and how normal cell function in the brain can be restored. But this is not the ultimate solution as it does not address the root problem. The one that causes these proteins to go haywire in the first place.

Sumifilam is the drug that tries to address this problem by targeting filamin A. Filamin A is a protein that may influence these toxic proteins, when altered.

According to the lead scientist of the company’s Alzheimer’s Program, amyloid disrupts the protein tau, and in order to do that it requires an accomplice protein: filamin A. If you put filamin A back in its normal form it won’t let amyloid mess up tau. This approach is what distinguishes this drug from others in development.

Right now, the lead contender for a new Alzheimer’s drug, Biogen, received FDA priority review for its drug aducanumab last month, which targets amyloid proteins and could be approved as early as the first quarter of 2021.

This makes sumifilam somewhat of a novelty. The company trying to make it a reality, Cassava Sciences was founded in 1998 and is yet to bring a drug to the market. With a market cap of $83 million, the only drug in development in the company right now is sumifilam.

This means that the company’s future relies heavily on the success of the drug. The company is also trying to develop a companion diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s as well, that will help physicians catch the disease earlier.

Previously, the company reported phase 2a data that did not meet its primary endpoint. But it was later found that the problem was with the data analysis rather than the drug itself. A second independent analysis of data revealed positive results and led to this current phase of study; 2b.

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