$SAVA Data for Alzheimer's Drug Questioned b

NYT Headline: Scientists Question Data Behind an Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug
NYT Subheadline: Studies linked to Cassava Sciences, once a stock market favorite, have been retracted or challenged by medical journals.


A small biotech company that trumpeted an exciting new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is now under fire for irregularities in its research results, after several studies related to its work were retracted or questioned by scientific journals.

The company, Cassava Sciences, based in Austin, Texas, announced last summer that its drug, simufilam, improved cognition in Alzheimer’s patients in a small clinical trial, describing it as the first such advance in treatment of the disease. Cassava later initiated a larger trial.

The drug’s potential garnered enormous attention from investors. Alzheimer’s disease affects roughly six million Americans, a number that is expected to double by 2050, and an effective treatment would be lucrative. Cassava’s stock soared, by more than 1,500 percent at one point. The company was worth nearly $5 billion last summer.

This is either scam erected to enrich insiders, or, there are some sloppy Scientists who are about to lose their medical licenses, or, both:


The New York Times contacted nine prominent experts for comment about the scientific underpinnings of Cassava’s trials. All said they did not trust the company’s methods, results or even the premise underlying the drug’s supposed effectiveness.

Dr. Roger Nicoll, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, said he was particularly angered that Cassava’s work is partly funded by taxpayers. In all, the company has received more than $20 million from the National Institutes of Health.

“This drug should not be put into patients. It should never have been. Never,” he added. “The longer this goes on, the more outraged I am.”

And on the other side of the issue, two Scientists who criticized $SAVA’s study and who reported their beliefs on Twitter which shaved -30% off the share price turn out to have been “short” the stock:

Cassava has indeed been the object of short-selling tactics. In August, two scientists filed a citizen’s petition to the F.D.A., using a law firm that represents whistle blowers and citing “grave concerns about the quality and integrity” of Cassava’s research. Its stock dropped by about 30 percent.

Both scientists held a short position in Cassava’s stock and profited from its decline, which undercut the credibility of their petition. Both have since divested themselves of those financial positions.

The F.D.A. denied the petition “solely on the grounds that your requests are not the appropriate subject of a citizen petition,” according to its statement.

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