NEW YORK – January 11, 2021
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 been awarded a research grant of $995,862.51 from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to develop ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The award will explore utilization of PET imaging biomarkers to enable measurement of target engagement and pathway activation of the sigma-1 receptor (SIGMAR1) with clinically relevant doses in people with Parkinson’s disease.
MJFF previously awarded Anavex a research grant, which fully funded a preclinical study that established ANAVEX®2-73 as a potentially disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Anavex is working toward the goal of confirming ANAVEX®2-73 as a disease-modifying intervention for Parkinson’s disease in clinical trials.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and affects more than 10 million people worldwide.
“Patients’ greatest unmet need is a therapy to slow or stop Parkinson’s progression, and our Foundation’s mission is to drive research closer to those treatments,” said Marco Baptista, PhD, Vice President of MJFF Research Programs. “ANAVEX®2-73 presents a promising approach, and we are glad to support its testing in these milestone first Parkinson’s trials.”
“We are extremely proud to have the support of MJFF for our ANAVEX®2-73 program, which allows Anavex to take the next step towards the potential to offer patients disease-modifying intervention for Parkinson’s disease patients,” stated Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. “We appreciate MJFF’s continued funding as we collectively work toward solutions for this disease.”
ANAVEX®2-73 activates the sigma-1 receptor (SIGMAR1). Data suggests that activation of the sigma-1 receptor (SIGMAR1) is pivotal to restoring neural cell homeostasis and promoting neuroplasticity.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that is characterized by well-known motor symptoms including tremors, stiffness of limbs, slowness of movements, and difficulties with posture and balance, as well as by non-motor symptoms. It is the second most common neurological disorder and approximately one million people in the United States, and more that 10 million people worldwide, live with this disease. Parkinson’s disease is more common in people over 60 years of age and its prevalence is expected to increase significantly as the average age of the population increases. Current Parkinson’s treatments are only effective in managing symptoms of the disease, mainly through the use of levodopa and dopamine agonists. As the disease progresses and dopaminergic neurons continue to be lost, these drugs eventually become less effective at treating the symptoms.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding $1 billion in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.
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 successfully a Phase 2a clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in Parkinson’s disease dementia and a Phase 2 study in adult patients with Rett syndrome. ANAVEX®2-73 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 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 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ANAVEX®3-71, which targets sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors, is a promising clinical stage 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. Further information is available at www.anavex.com. You can also connect with the company on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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:
Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Research & Business Development
Andrew J. Barwicki
Elixir Health Public Relations
 Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Volume 964 (2017) Sigma Receptors: Their Role in Disease and as Therapeutic Targets.