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Here's What Investors Should Know About Cassava's Alzheimer's Drug Candidate

By Taylor Carmichael and Olivia Zitkus – Aug 11, 2021 at 3:15PM

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Cassava believes that a mutating protein, Filamin A, is a major culprit behind Alzheimer's disease. The company's drug, simufilam, aims to fix this mutation and restore its proper form and function.

Over the last two decades, Big Pharma has tried to introduce numerous drugs to combat Alzheimer's disease. Almost all of these drugs have focused on amyloid plaques in the brain. If we remove the plaques, the theory goes, patients will get better. And patients have not gotten better. It's been 20 years of failure after failure after failure in the clinical trials.

Now a tiny biotech, Cassava Sciences (SAVA -1.86%) has emerged with a new theory. Instead of focusing on amyloid plaques on the brain, Cassava wants to fix a mutating protein known as Filamin A. In this video from Motley Fool Live, recorded on July 30, Motley Fool editor and analyst Olivia Zitkus and Fool contributor Taylor Carmichael discuss simufilam, the new therapy from Cassava.

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Olivia Zitkus: "Is this Alzheimer gene you speak of, creating a misfolding of protein?" I don't exactly know how that works or what exactly it is, how either the Tau protein like we've talked about with the combination treatment from Biogen. Do you know exactly what the mechanism is?

Taylor Carmichael: Yeah. I think -- it's a mutating protein and what this drug is supposed to do is to get it to its proper form and function. It's supposed to basically fix the protein. What the company thinks will happen is if you fix that broken mutating protein, that patients will stop getting worse. But what they are actually seeing is that patients are getting better, which is kind of amazing. It's still very early. They are doing phase 3 trials later this year. We'll have really good data a year from now.

Zitkus: Yeah. All right.

Carmichael: The stock is way up, they are a $5 billion or $6 billion -- I don't know where they are now. $4 billion, maybe.  

Zitkus: Yeah, totally. I just had Tim Sparks drop an article from Stat news, I think it was just published yesterday about the release, and it just has a couple of interesting takes from independent researchers who expressed doubts about the benefits of simufilam and called the study results overblown, and again, like Biogen, inappropriate and tough to interpret. I wouldn't be surprised if Cassava went through a similar up and down to Biogen over the next few months.

Taylor Carmichael owns shares of Cassava Sciences, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Biogen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Cassava Sciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Cassava Sciences, Inc.
$34.27 (-1.86%) $0.65
Biogen Stock Quote
$292.90 (-4.01%) $-12.25

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