Cassava Sciences Secures $2.7 Million Research Grant for Its Alzheimer’s Drug Candidate

By McKenzie Carpenter Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Cassava Sciences, a pharmaceutical company, announced it was awarded a $2.7 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for simufilam, its Alzheimer’s disease new drug and diagnostics test.

Alzheimer's disease concept.

About Cassava Sciences

Based out of Austin, Texas, Cassava Sciences is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical business that specializes in neuroscience research. The company particularly focuses on Alzheimer’s disease research with hopes of one day having the capabilities to detect and treat the neurodegenerative condition.

Currently, the pharmaceutical business is working on its two main innovative products related to Alzheimer’s disease: SavaDx and simufilam. SavaDx is a blood-based diagnostic test that is intended to detect Alzheimer’s disease potentially years before symptoms start to occur. The blood test is still undergoing clinical testing.

The pharmaceutical company created simufilam, a proprietary oral treatment designed to restore the shape and function of altered filamin A (FLNA), which is associated with Alzheimer’s. FLNA is a gene that produces the filamin A protein that assists in building an extensive, structured yet flexible, internal network of protein filaments, also known as a cytoskeleton.

The pharmaceutical business claims it began Phase II clinical trials in 2018 using simufilam to treat patients with Alzheimer’s. Phase II clinical trials are meant to test the safety, side effects, and how diseases, viruses, or cancers respond to new treatments.

Cassava Sciences is a publicly traded company. Google Finance estimates the business is worth approximately $1.6 billion.

New Research Grant

The NIH awarded the company with a $2.7 million research grant that will be used to fund clinical readiness activities as simufilam prepares to enter Phase III of clinical trials. The pharmaceutical business has not disclosed at this time when Phase III trials will begin.

Remi Barbier, the president and CEO of Cassava Sciences, said in a statement, “We appreciate the continued scientific and financial support provided by NIH for simufilam...We believe simufilam’s clinical safety, unique mechanism of action and constellation of clinical and biomarker results to date all point to long-term disease modification and we are excited to join hands with NIH on this program.”

This new research grant comes just a couple of days after the company revealed it would be completing six months of cognition maintenance studies on patients from Phase II trials who have either continued the simufilam treatment or have discontinued the use of the new drug.

The NIH has funded all research done by the business for simufilam and the SavaDx test.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is not completely understood by researchers, scientists, and healthcare professionals. As a result, there is currently no known cure.

As one of the 10 leading causes of death in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that roughly 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2020. The CDC predicts that figure could possibly triple to 14 million people by 2060.

The Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit organization, estimates that in the next 40 years, caring for people with Alzheimer’s will cost Americans $20 trillion. The organization added that for every $28,000 the federal government spends on patient care, only $100 is spent on research.

About the Author

Headshot for author McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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