Cassava Sciences Stock Falls as CEO Defends Company, Critics Attack


Cassava Sciences  (SAVA) – Get Cassava Sciences, Inc. Report tumbled Friday after the drugmaker's CEO issued a statement rebutting recent allegations against the quality of testing for the company's Alzheimer's disease treatment and was attacked on social media.

Shares of the Austin, Texas company ended off $4.15, or 7.6%, $50.20.

Remi Barbier, president and CEO, recorded a statement defending the company against allegations made by Jordan Thomas, a partner and chair of the whistleblower representation practice at Labaton Sucharow.,

Thomas had filed a Citizen's Petition with the Food and Drug Administration asking federal regulators to halt clinical trials of simufilam.

“These allegations are not only false, I also think they are misleading,” Barbier said. “As a science organization, we conduct experiments that generate data. We do not invent stuff out of thin air. Needless to say, we intend to vigorously defend ourselves and our stakeholders against false and misleading allegations.”

In the week that the allegations were posted online, Barbier said, “our market valuation declined by over $2 billion dollars.” 

“There is an enormous profit motive at work,” he said. “As previously noted, after the allegations were made public, which is to say after the damage was done, the law firm issued a press release admitting its anonymous clients “hold short positions in Cassava stock.”

The issue was further complicated last week when Quanterix ORTX said it didn't interpret the test results of simufilam, causing the stock to plummet.

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Thomas, a former Security and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyer who helped set up the agency’s whistleblower program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, Elisabeth Bik, a science consultant, criticized the company on Twitter after Barbier said there were two errors in the company's presentations.

“And here is the part that concerns me the most,” Bik tweeted. “He presents a new graph, with some extra lines in the placebo, and from which the 100 mg treatment group 'outlier' now has been removed. I repeat: The outlier has just been removed.”

Bik added that leaving out a value that does not fit the hypothesis cannot be brushed off as just “removing an outlier” that was left in by error. 

“That is a very serious and intentional action that needs much more explanation,” she said.

In addition, Adam Feuerstein, a senior writer at Stat News, criticized the statement, who said on Twitter that the company “might be even worse than its harshest critics even imagined.”

“This statement says nothing, achieves nothing,” he said.

Cassava Sciences did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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