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Cassava Stock Soars; Review Finds 'No Evidence of Manipulation'

Cassava Sciences stock soars as its CEO says, 'I've never doubted the integrity of our people or science.'

Cassava Sciences  (SAVA) - Get Cassava Sciences, Inc. Report stock soared on Thursday after the biotech said it had been informed by the Journal of Neuroscience that there is no evidence of data manipulation in an article it published in describing a new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease.

Shares of the Austin company at last check were 36% higher at $77.15. They've traded on Thursday as high as $100, up 76%.

Cassava Sciences became embroiled in controversy in August when Jordan Thomas, a partner and chair of the whistleblower representation practice at Labaton Sucharow, filed a citizen's petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The petition sought a halt to trials of Cassava's Alzheimer's disease treatment, simufilam.

Thomas, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyer who helped set up the agency’s whistleblower program, raised concern about "the quality and integrity of the laboratory-based studies surrounding this drug candidate."

The petition alleged, among other things, data manipulation in an article published by the Journal of Neuroscience regarding a lab technique known as Western blots.

Cassava Sciences, which had reported progress in a study of the drug, labeled the allegations "fiction."

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The Journal of Neuroscience issued a statement saying “no evidence of data manipulation was found for Western blot data.”

One human error that did not affect data conclusions was identified, Cassava Sciences said, and the publisher is expected to print a correction.

“I’ve never doubted the integrity of our people or science,” President and Chief Executive Remi Barbier said in a statement. 

"We remain focused on conducting a Phase 3 clinical program of simufilam in people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

"It’s an important endeavor, notwithstanding pundits who may be louder than they are learned. We’ll stay the course until our job is done.”

Last month, the company said a second citizen petition was submitted to the FDA by an individual. 

This second petitioner is asking the agency for approval of simufilam and immediate initiation of Phase 4 trials "for further efficacy, safety assessment and, most critically, to address one of the greatest needs in modern medicine," Cassava Sciences said.