ALS Association Golden West Chapter Awarded 1st Cytokinetics Communications Fellowship

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by Catarina Silva |

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Cytokinetics has awarded the ALS Association Golden West Chapter with its first communications fellowship, part of a company initiative directed at nonprofit organizations to increase public education and awareness of their programs and care services, as well as to elevate patients’ voices.

“As a longstanding partner of the disease and patient advocacy community, we recognized a need for organizations to expand the scope of their communications to support families with rare diseases of muscle dysfunction and we sought an opportunity to close that gap,” Diane Weiser, Cytokinetics’ vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said in a news release.

“By providing this Fellowship, our partners will now have funding to invest in additional communications resources to educate their communities about their disease and organization, provide additional support and services, and create connections among patients, caregivers and advocacy resources,” she added.

Applying for a Cytokinetics Communications Fellowship, as the annual grant is called, requires submission of a proposal describing the activities and services to be carried out by the nonprofit organization. If the fellowship is granted, recipients need to provide Cytokinetics with an outcomes report by the end of the funding period to measure the programs’ impact.

This grant is not the first time the Golden West Chapter and Cytokinetics have partnered to help those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or affected by the disease. Earlier this year, Cytokinetics announced that it would continue to sponsor the Golden West Chapter’s research efforts and national events, such as the National Walks to Defeat ALS.

“We are extremely grateful to Cytokinetics and honored to receive this unique grant,” said Fred Fisher, president and CEO of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. “There are more people than ever who are registering with the Golden West Chapter, and the demand for the services and support that we offer grows larger every month. The Fellowship provides critically-needed funding to help us invest in communications resources to support people with ALS and their loved ones, and to create deeper connections between The ALS community and the Chapter.”

Cytokinetics is also working with Astellas Pharma to develop reldesemtiv (CK-2127107) as a possible treatment for ALS. Reldesemtiv is a next-generation fast skeletal muscle troponin activator that holds the potential of improving muscle function and physical performance in people with conditions linked to muscular dysfunction (of neural origin or not).

The ongoing multicenter, double-blind, randomized, and dose-ranging Phase 2 trial (NCT03160898) is focused on reldesemtiv’s safety, tolerability and its effect on respiratory function and other measures of skeletal muscle function — like handheld and hand grip strength — in ALS patients.

Subjects will be given reldesemtiv at 150, 300, 450 mg doses, or a placebo, twice daily for a period of 12 weeks. Enrollment is currently open and researchers plan to recruit 445 patients across 62 locations in several countries, including United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and Spain.