NEW YORK – January 27, 2020
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 disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Rett syndrome and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today announced that it has met its enrollment target for the ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) Phase 2 study in Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD). The Company expects to announce topline results from this study by mid-2020.
ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) is an orally available, small-molecule activator of the sigma-1 receptor which, data suggest, is pivotal to restoring neural cell homeostasis and promoting neuroplasticity.
The study enrolled over 120 patients at 20 sites across Spain (Europe) along with 3 sites in Australia.
This multi-center, double-blind clinical trial is measuring efficacy, tolerability, and safety of two different once daily oral ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) doses or placebo.
The ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) Phase 2 PDD study design incorporates genomic precision medicine biomarkers. Primary and secondary endpoints will assess cognition and Parkinsonian motor symptoms and sleep function during the 14-week study. The efficacy assessments include the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) Computerized Assessment System, MDS-UPDRS (Motor Scores) and incidence of Sleep Disorders Symptom Checklist (SDS-CL-25). ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) previously demonstrated in a Phase 2a Alzheimer’s disease study dose dependent improvement in exploratory endpoints of cognition (ERP/EEG, Cogstate, Mini-Mental State Examination – MMSE) within 5 weeks.
To offer eligible participants of the Phase 2 PDD study access to ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine), participants completing the trial may enroll in a voluntary 48-week open-label extension study.
“A significant unmet need exists currently for Parkinson’s disease patients since up to 80% of Parkinson’s patients develop dementia, and we are excited to have fully enrolled this study for ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine), meeting the high-end of our targeted range,” said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. “Given ANAVEX®2-73’s (blarcamesine) oral route of administration we believe it has the potential to deliver broad clinical utility.”
About Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD)
Parkinson’s disease is a fairly common neurological disorder in older adults, estimated to affect nearly 2 percent of those older than age 65. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease eventually experience Parkinson’s disease dementia. The brain changes caused by Parkinson’s disease begin in a region that plays a key role in movement. As Parkinson’s brain changes gradually spread, they often begin to affect mental functions, including memory and the ability to pay attention, make sound judgments and plan the steps needed to complete a task.
About ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine)
ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) activates the Sigma-1 receptor (S1R) protein, which serves as a molecular chaperone and functional modulator involved in restoring homeostasis. In a Phase 2a Alzheimer’s disease (AD) study, ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) has shown dose dependent improvement in exploratory endpoints of cognition (MMSE) and activities of daily living (ADCS-ADL). Full genomic analysis of ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) Phase 2a AD patients was performed. The ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) Phase 2 PDD study design includes genomic biomarkers identified in the ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) Phase 2a AD study. Studies of ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) in a disease modifying model of Parkinson’s disease indicates that ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) is well tolerated, induces significant motor recovery (p<0.05), induces neurohistological restoration (p<0.05) and reduces microglial activation (p<0.05), a potential biomarker of Parkinson’s disease. Behavioral patterns were completely normal, meaning no signs of either dystonia or stereotypic behaviors were detected in animals receiving the treatment. These studies were funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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 disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Rett syndrome and other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. Anavex’s lead drug candidate, ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine), recently completed a successful Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) is an orally available drug candidate that restores cellular homeostasis by targeting sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors. Preclinical studies demonstrated its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) also exhibited anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties in animal models, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research previously awarded Anavex a research grant, which fully funded a preclinical study to develop ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ANAVEX®3-71, which targets sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors, is a promising preclinical drug candidate demonstrating disease-modifying activity against the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice, including cognitive deficits, amyloid and tau pathologies. In preclinical trials, ANAVEX®3-71 has shown beneficial effects on mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammation.
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.
For Further Information:
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 Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Volume 964 (2017) Sigma Receptors: Their Role in Disease and as Therapeutic Targets.
 ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03774459.