Cytokinetics Renews Partnership With ALS Association

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by Mary Chapman |

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Citing research progress and other efforts, the late-stage biopharmaceutical company Cytokinetics has reaffirmed its burgeoning partnership with the ALS Association in its fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

For starters, the company is renewing its sponsorship of the association’s national Walk to Defeat ALS fundraisers, as well as its ALS Advocacy Conference, during which advocates nationwide converge on Capitol Hill each year to meet with legislators about ALS-related policy issues. This year’s conference will be held June 9-11. It’s also supporting Golden West Chapter initiatives, including care services for California’s Bay Area patients.

“The ALS Association and the ALS Association Golden West chapter have been exceptional partners over the many years we’ve worked together in supporting patients, caregivers and advocates of our ALS community,” Robert I. Blum, president and CEO of Cytokinetics, said in a press release.

“In honor of ALS Awareness Month, and following the recent release of encouraging results from our clinical trials of reldesemtiv, it is a privilege to continue our commitment to making a difference in the lives of people impacted by ALS, alongside our renewed conviction to develop new medicines that may meaningfully impact their lives.”

In collaboration with Astellas Pharma, which holds licensing rights, Cytokinetics is developing reldesemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle troponin activator (FSTA) for neuromuscular disorders, including ALS.  The investigational therapy is intended to slow the rate of calcium release in fast skeletal muscle fibers, improving their ability to contract, and thus work better.

Reldesemtiv was the subject of a recently completed Phase 2 (NCT03160898) double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group study, which tested the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of the compound in 458 patients in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia.

After 12 weeks, participants on all doses of reldesemtiv declined less, although not with statistical significance, than patients on placebo for slow vital capacity (SVC, the primary endpoint), and the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis functional rating scale (ALSFRS-R). Full trial results may be found here.

During the past year, South San Francisco-based Cytokinetics also has been involved with several ALS Association education and awareness-raising events, including the Voice Your Love effort, which spotlights one of the disease’s most debilitating symptoms: losing the ability to speak. Cytokinetics also has helped fund the association’s communications resources efforts.

This year, the company will participate in area events, including the Champions for Care and a Cure gala in November, ALS Awareness Day with the San Francisco Giants in August, the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS in September, and the South Bay Walk to Defeat ALS.

“We are grateful to have a strong industry partner who shares our goals for awareness, education and public policy, and remains tireless in its pursuit of new therapies for the ALS community,”said Calaneet Balas, the association’s president and CEO.

“The demand for services and support that we offer continues to grow. Cytokinetics’ ongoing dedication to our ALS community is unparalleled,” added Fred Fisher, president and CEO of the Golden West Chapter.