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Anavex Reports That Antidepressant Fluvoxamine Reduces Stress Through Sigma-1 Receptor

New York, NY – August 19, 2014

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“Anavex” or the “Company”) (OTCQB: AVXL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel drug candidates to treat Alzheimer’s disease, other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and various types of cancer, announced today new data published in the current issue of Cell Death and Disease that the commonly used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Fluvoxamine has a high affinity for sigma-1 receptor (S1R) and thus can alleviate cell stress.

The scientific findings indicate that Fluvoxamine, which is marketed for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder, prevents neuronal cell death resulting from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through induction of S1R. Disturbances in neuron regulations could cause ER stress, a state in which the folding of proteins slows, leading to an increase in unfolded proteins. This stress is emerging as a potential cause of damage in neuronal disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, S1R expression may have an important role in synapse formation and plasticity. Thus, it is possible that Fluvoxamine’s cellular responses to ER stress could contribute not only to pathological conditions, but also to normal neural development.

“The involvement of ER stress in various neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease has been previously reported. The data strongly suggest that this molecular mechanism not only offers a new treatment target for diseases thought to be caused by ER stress such as neurodegenerative diseases, however, also for diseases associated with reduced S1R levels such as schizophrenia and depression,” said Tangui Maurice, PhD, CNRS Research Director at the University of Montpellier and INSERM, who contributed to the study.

Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex, added, “These findings also provide added encouragement for the upcoming clinical Phase IIa trial of ANAVEX 2-73 and ANAVEX PLUS, which is scheduled to commence soon.”

The authors conclude that Fluvoxamine’s up-regulation of S1R suppresses apoptosis caused by ER stress and produces a neuroprotective effect. The data strongly suggest that this molecular mechanism offers a new treatment target for neurodegenerative diseases, which are possibly caused by ER stress. The report, entitled “Fluvoxamine alleviates ER stress via induction of Sigma-1 receptor,” was authored by T Kudo, Department of Psychiatry, Osaka University, Japan, T Maurice, University of Montpellier and INSERM, France and colleagues.

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. ( is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel drug candidates to treat Alzheimer’s disease, other CNS diseases and various types of cancer. ANAVEX 2-73, an orally available drug candidate developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease through potential disease modification, has undergone an initial Phase 1 human clinical trial and was well tolerated in doses up to 55mg. Results from preclinical studies indicate that ANAVEX 2-73 demonstrates anti-amnesic and neuroprotective properties. A highly encouraging synergistic effect has also been observed between ANAVEX 2-73 and donepezil (Aricept®). The combined therapeutic, called ANAVEX PLUS, produced up to 80% greater reversal of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease models versus when the drugs were used individually. Anavex is a publicly traded corporation quoted as AVXL.

Forward-Looking Statements

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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