Cytokinetics Renews Partnership With The ALS Association

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by Marta Figueiredo, PhD |

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Cytokinetics Renews Partnership, The ALS Association

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Cytokinetics has reaffirmed its partnership with The ALS Association in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by continuing to support events and initiatives throughout 2021.

The muscle biology biopharmaceutical company also is working to advance the clinical development of its experimental therapy reldesemtiv, designed to improve muscle function in ALS patients.

“We are proud to renew our enduring partnership and continue our support for The ALS Association and The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in the fight against ALS,” Diane Weiser, Cytokinetics’ senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said in a press release.

The ALS Association said Cytokinetics’ support will aid in ALS awareness.

“We are grateful to continue our longstanding partnership with Cytokinetics, a company that has consistently shown that their values and goals align with ours,” said Lyles Eddins, The ALS Association’s senior vice president of development and field operations.

“Together we look forward to continuing to improve awareness, education, public policy, and access to care for those impacted by ALS,” Eddins added.

During this ALS Awareness Month, Cytokinetics stated that it will continue to sponsor and participate in several of the association’s virtual events and initiatives, all focused on promoting ALS awareness and education. These programs include the 2021 ALS Roundtables and ALS Focus.

The 2021 ALS Roundtables — the second of which recently gathered nearly 50 people from the ALS community — encourage patients, caregivers, pharmaceutical companies, representatives of health authorities, insurers, researchers, and clinicians to discuss topics relevant to ALS.

Meanwhile, the ALS Focus is a program that uses surveys — about four each year — to learn more about the needs and burdens of patients and their caregivers. A better understanding of individual experiences with ALS is expected to benefit the entire ALS community, according to the association.

Of note, the latest survey opened by the program is looking specifically at the needs and challenges of caregiving for ALS patients in the U.S. To participate, register here.

Previously launched surveys focused on ALS’ insurance needs and financial burden, and on learning what matters most to patients and caregivers.

A supporter of the Golden West Chapter’s initiatives for more than a decade, Cytokinetics also is upholding its commitment to the local community. The company actively participates in fundraising and awareness events, and also will support grant funding for care services for California’s Bay Area patients.

“The ALS community has been impacted tremendously by the pandemic over the past year, and we are grateful for the continued support from partners like Cytokinetics,” said Fred Fisher, president and CEO of the Golden West Chapter.

“We are thrilled to continue working closely with them on events and strategic initiatives at the local level,” Fisher added.

Weiser also said that Cytokinetics hopes to “make a positive impact in the fight by potentially starting COURAGE-ALS, our Phase 3 trial of reldesemtiv in patients with ALS, later this year.”

Developed in collaboration with Astellas Pharma, reldesemtiv is an investigational fast skeletal muscle troponin activator designed to increase muscles’ response to weak nerve signals, thereby slowing the progressive muscle weakness seen in ALS and other neuromuscular diseases.

The upcoming global COURAGE-ALS Phase 3 study will build upon the promising results of the completed FORTITUDE-ALS Phase 2 trial (NCT03160898). The new study will recruit about 555 ALS patients who are within two years of their first symptom of muscle weakness.

Participants will be randomly assigned to receive an oral tablet of either reldesemtiv or a placebo twice daily over 24 weeks (nearly six months), after which all will be given the experimental therapy for an additional 24 weeks.

The trial’s main goal is to measure changes in the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised scores over the first 24 weeks. Secondary measures include changes in lung function, grip strength, and a composite measure of respiratory insufficiency and survival.