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US FDA Orphan Drug Designation to ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) for the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

US FDA Orphan Drug Designation to ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) for the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

NEW YORK – November 7, 2022

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 reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) to ANAVEX®2-73 (blarcamesine) for the treatment of Fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and the most frequent single gene cause of autism spectrum disorder with an estimated population of approximately 62,500 in the US and 1,088,500 worldwide.[1] At present, there is no approved treatment for Fragile X syndrome.

“The Orphan Drug Designation highlights the potential to expand the therapeutic profile of ANAVEX®2-73 into the largest portion of autism spectrum disorder, Fragile X syndrome,” said Christopher U Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. “We look forward to working with the Fragile X syndrome community to rapidly advance ANAVEX®2-73 as a potential treatment for Fragile X syndrome while we continue to expand late-stage clinical investigation of ANAVEX®2-73 as part of its precision medicineplatform technology for both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative indications.”

The FDA's Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status to drugs defined as those intended for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Orphan drug designation qualifies the sponsor of the drug for certain development incentives, including tax credits for qualified clinical testing, prescription drug user fee exemptions and seven-year marketing exclusivity upon FDA approval.

Anavex Life Sciences’ product portfolio platform includes drug lead candidate ANAVEX®2-73 for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Rett syndrome and ANAVEX®3-71 for schizophrenia, frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

About Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Fragile X Syndrome is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and the most frequent single gene cause of autism, affecting approximately 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 6,000 females. The disorder is caused by the unstable expansion of a CGG repeat in the FMR1 gene that leads to abnormal methylation and suppression of FMR1 transcription with the resulting decrease in protein levels in the brain and other tissues. The average age of Fragile X syndrome diagnosis for boys and girls are 35 to 37 months and 42 months, respectively. Behavioral abnormalities, including autism spectrum disorder, are common.

Autism spectrum disorder is a behavioral diagnosis while Fragile X syndrome is a medical/genetic diagnosis. Many studies have evaluated the link between Fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder over the last few decades. Since many children with Fragile X syndrome are interested in social interactions, they may not meet the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder, even though they exhibit some features such as poor eye contact, shyness, social anxiety, hand-flapping and sensory issues. Autism is much more common in boys than in girls with Fragile X syndrome. According to the CDC, a national parent survey found that 46% of males and 16% of females with Fragile X syndrome have been diagnosed or treated for autism spectrum disorder.

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (Nasdaq: AVXL) is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel 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), has successfully completed a Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease, a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in Parkinson's disease dementia, and both a Phase 2 and a Phase 3 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 M1 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 You can also connect with the company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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.

For Further Information:

Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Research & Business Development

Toll-free: 1-844-689-3939


Andrew J. Barwicki Investor Relations Tel: 516-662-9461




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