What happened

Shares of Cassava Sciences (NASDAQ:SAVA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, gained 26.6% as of 3:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. Investors are anticipating a new set of clinical-trial data from the company's lead candidate, simufilam, to be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) later this month.

So what 

The FDA's controversial approval of Aduhelm from Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) this June has many retail investors excited about the next potential Alzheimer's disease treatment. More than 6 million Americans are living with this progressive and ultimately fatal form of dementia, and the only available treatment isn't supported by evidence of efficacy.

Scientist making a presentation.

Image source: Getty Images.

Cassava Sciences stock jumped higher on Wednesday because the company simply announced an upcoming presentation at AAIC's annual conference. On July 29, 2021, the company will present new data from a phase 2 trial with simufilam, a potential first-in-class stabilizer of a structural protein called filamin A.

Now what

Signs that simufilam can help slow down patients' loss of cognitive abilities have been encouraging and worthy of further study. At recent prices, though, Cassava Sciences sports a $4.6 billion market cap. That's a lot for a company with no products to sell and one experimental drug in mid-stage testing.

Last September, Cassava Sciences showed how 28 days of treatment with simufilam significantly reduced signs of worsening dementia as measured from samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Cognitive measurements from this phase 2 study showed signs of a benefit compared to a placebo, but the company hasn't even started a phase 3 trial that could support a new drug application.

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