NEW YORK, NY – June 22, 2016 – Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“Anavex” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: AVXL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer, today reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Orphan Product Development has granted Orphan Drug Designation to ANAVEX 2-73 for the treatment of infantile spasms.
“Infantile spasms marks the second Orphan Drug Designation for our ANAVEX 2-73 program, following the Orphan Drug Designation received for the treatment of Rett syndrome,” said Kristina M. Capiak, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Anavex.
The FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development advances the evaluation of drugs that show promise for the safe treatment of rare diseases, defined as those affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. The designation provides sponsors with development and commercial incentives, including seven years of market exclusivity in the U.S., prioritized consultation by FDA on clinical studies and certain exemptions from or reductions in regulatory fees.
About Infantile Spasms
An infantile spasm is a specific type of seizure seen in an epilepsy syndrome of infancy and childhood known as West Syndrome. West Syndrome is characterized by infantile spasms, developmental regression, and a specific pattern on electroencephalography (EEG) testing called hypsarrhythmia (chaotic brain waves). The onset of infantile spasms is usually in the first year of life, typically between 4-8 months. The seizures primarily consist of a sudden bending forward of the body with stiffening of the arms and legs; some children arch their backs as they extend their arms and legs. Spasms tend to occur upon awakening or after feeding, and often occur in clusters of up to 100 spasms at a time. Infants may have dozens of clusters and several hundred spasms per day. Infantile spasms usually stop by age five, but may be replaced by other seizure types. Many underlying disorders, such as birth injury, metabolic disorders, and genetic disorders can give rise to spasms, making it important to identify the underlying cause. In some children, no cause can be found.
Infantile spasms occur in roughly 2-3 per 10,000 live births, with peak incidence at 6 months of age and less than 10% of cases presenting after 12 months of age. Neurological and/or developmental outcomes in patients with infantile spasms are usually poor. Children with symptomatic spasms more frequently exhibit neurological deficits and cognitive and developmental delays.
About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (Nasdaq: AVXL) is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. Anavex’s lead drug candidate, ANAVEX 2-73, is currently in a Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX 2-73 is an orally available drug candidate that targets sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors and successfully completed Phase 1 with a clean safety profile. Preclinical studies demonstrated its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. It has also exhibited anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties in animal models, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy and others. The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for Parkinson’s Research has awarded Anavex a research grant to develop ANAVEX 2-73 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease to fully fund a preclinical study, which could justify moving ANAVEX 2-73 into a Parkinson’s disease clinical trial. ANAVEX 3-71, also targeting sigma-1 and M1 muscarinic receptors, is a promising preclinical drug candidate demonstrating disease modifications against the major Alzheimer’s hallmarks in transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice, including cognitive deficits, amyloid and tau pathologies, and also with beneficial effects on neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunctions. Further information is available at www.anavex.com.
Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature are forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions based on current information and expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in any of such statements due to various factors, including the risks set forth in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Anavex Life Sciences Corp. undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.
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