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Concerns Here and There

A number of research studies associated with Cassava Sciences have been called into question, the New York Times reports.

It adds that the company announced about nearly a year ago that its drug simufilam could improve cognition among patients with Alzheimer's disease. But since then, the Times notes that concerns have arisen about some of the methods in the papers underpinning the company's approach. For instance, Retraction Watch reported in December that the Journal of Neuroscience issued expressions of concern for two studies from the City University of New York's Hoau-Yan Wang and Cassava's Lindsay Burns and the Times notes that a third study at Neurobiology of Aging also received an expression of concern. PLOS One further retracted a number of papers from Wang.

The Times additionally says that a number of experts it spoke with "did not trust the company’s methods, results, or even the premise underlying the drug’s supposed effectiveness." Stanford University's Thomas Südhof, for instance, tells it that the conclusion that simufilam restores the shape and function of filamin A to affect cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease "make[s]no sense to me whatsoever."

Remi Barbier, the founder and chief executive of Cassava, tells the Times that many of the company's critics have had financial conflicts — short sellers have petitioned regulators about the company, as the Wall Street Journal has reported — and that "[t]hey have gone, and continue to go, to unreal extremes to halt our progress."

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