Athens, Greece — June 24, 2008 — Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“ANAVEX”) (OTCBB: AVXL) announces its participation at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2008 (July 26–31, 2008,Chicago,USA), where it will present results obtained with ANAVEX 1-41 demonstrating a protective effect against the neurotoxicity of amyloid β25-35 peptide (Aβ25-35) in mice. This peptide is used to mimic the neurodegenerative processes found in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and help identify the neuroprotective effects of the ANAVEX compound in order to establish its potential for further development.The two outstanding aspects of the results to be presented are:
1) The very low doses of ANAVEX 1-41 (30-100μg/kg, ip) at which we attain neuroprotective results, indicating significantly greater potency than other pharmacological agents. The neuroprotection was specifically assessed in the hippocampus, an area highly implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. This very significant neuroprotective activity of ANAVEX 1-41 was found to be related to its combined sigma-1 and muscarinic effects.
2) The novel anti-apoptotic mechanism of ANAVEX 1-41 that was attained at extremely low doses of ANAVEX 1-41 (100-fold below the threshold for unwanted muscarinic effects). Apoptosis is the predominant pathophysiological aspect of the brain degeneration in AD, and protection against this process could be an important therapeutic strategy. In particular, the inositol triphosphate receptors calcium channels (IP3R) upregulation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensors modulation maintained the ER and the mitochondrion in the unfolded protein response (UPR) adaptative status and protected against the triggering of apoptotic processes.
Unlike the challenge of pro-amyloid and anti-amyloid theories of AD, Anavex Life Sciences’ SIGMACEPTOR™ Discovery Platform sigma-1 activator molecules target neuron structures (ER, mitochondrion) with the goal of preventing the neurodegenerative action of the disturbed biochemical pathways and channels (UPR, IP3R, Bcl-2, apoptosis), which recently emerged as putative crucial factors in AD as well as many other neurodegenerative diseases.
“We are pleased by our continued progress in the development of ANAVEX 1-41, and are excited to be presenting data regarding its potent neuroprotective and anti-apoptotic properties at such low doses at ICAD,” said Dr. Vamvakides, Chief Scientific Officer of ANAVEX. “Based on our pre-clinical studies to date, we continue to believe that ANAVEX 1-41 may offer disease-modifying options that reverse memory and learning deficits and protect nerve cells from death.”
The above-mentioned findings further support ANAVEX to progress ANAVEX 1-41 towards Phase 1 human clinical trials.
The International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease is being held July 26-31, 2008 in Chicago, USA. Additional information is available on the conference web site at http://www.alz.org/icad/overview.asp. The ANAVEX abstract can be viewed by visiting http://www.alz.org/icad/abstract.asp and doing a search for “Anavex” using the Online Program Planner.
About Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and is characterized by the progressive degeneration of cognition as a result of the destruction of nerve cells in the brain. In March 2007, the Alzheimer’s Association reported that 5.1 million people in theUnited States(4.9 million of whom are aged 65 and older) are living with Alzheimer’s disease. This represents an increase of at least 10% from the previous prevalence estimate of 4.5 million. By 2015, there could be as many as 16.8 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the major seven pharmaceutical markets unless novel drug treatment therapies are discovered.
Medications currently available to treat Alzheimer’s disease include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl-D aspartate receptor antagonists. Both types of medications only treat symptoms of the disease — they do not stop the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
In conclusion, there are very real and unmet medical requirements for drug therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The impressive market size leaves no doubt for the business opportunity presented by treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
Drugs able to act on the underlying disease pathology and modify disease onset and progression, demonstrating neuroprotective, anti-amnesic and preventive properties combined with excellent safety and low toxicity, have the potential for blockbuster sales.
About Sigma Receptors
Sigma receptors are a unique family of proteins, present mainly in the Central Nervous System (CNS) but also in various peripheral tissues. The receptors are classified in two subtypes: the sigma-1 and sigma-2. These subtypes are distinguishable pharmacologically, functionally and by molecular size. Sigma-1 receptors have been cloned and shown to be distinct from any known receptor class.
In the CNS, they are involved in the modulation of neurotransmitter receptor function, neurotransmitter release and response, as well as memory and learning processes, demonstrating potential neuroprotective and anti-amnesic properties. The modulatory action and the implication of numerous cellular and biochemical signaling pathways suggest possible sigma receptor involvement in many neuronal processes, as well as in the pathophysiology of certain psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, motor disturbances, neuropathic pain, drug addiction, and attention deficit disorders.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (www.anavex.com) is an emerging biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel drug targets for the treatment of cancer and neurological diseases. The company’s proprietary SIGMACEPTOR™ Discovery Platform involves the rational drug design of compounds that fulfill specific criteria based on unmet market needs and new scientific advances. Selected drug candidates demonstrate high, non-exclusive affinity for sigma receptors, which are involved in the modulation of multiple cellular biochemical signalling pathways.
ANAVEX’s SIGMACEPTOR™-N program involves the development of novel and original drug candidates, targeting neurological and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, depression). The company’s lead drug candidates exhibit high affinity and selectivity to sigma receptors and also synergetic action with other receptors, such as Muscarinic, NMDA and ion channels, with strong evidence of anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anxiolytic properties.
ANAVEX’s SIGMACEPTOR™-C program involves the discovery and development of novel and original drug candidates targeting cancer. The company’s lead drug candidates exhibit high, non-exclusive affinity to sigma receptors with strong evidence for selective apoptosis of cancerous cells without affecting healthy cells, as well as anti-metastatic and low toxicity properties in various types of solid tumors such as colon, breast, prostate and melanoma.
This press release contains forward-looking statements for Anavex Life Sciences Corp. that involves 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. Among other things, there can be no assurance that any of the Company’s development efforts relating to its product candidate, ANAVEX 1-41, will be successful, or such product candidate will be successfully commercialized or that ANAVEX 1-41 will have the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease or other types of neurodegenerative diseases or that ANAVEX 1-41 will provide clinically relevant advantages over other competitive compounds in development. Other risks that affect forward-looking information contained in this press release include the high degree of risk associated with drug development, results of further research and development, the impact of competition and of technological advances and other risks detailed to ANAVEX’s SEC filings. Other than as required by federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of our forward-looking statements, whether as a result of changed circumstances, new information, future events, or for any other reason occurring after the date of this news release.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Research & Business Development
Shareholder & Media Relations
OutsideNorth America: +1 (416) 489-0092