top of page

Anavex Life Sciences Appoints Three Distinguished Researchers To Scientific Advisory Board


NEW YORK – November 28, 2016

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 diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer, today announced the appointment of three distinguished researchers to its Scientific Advisory Board.

The additional SAB members include:

  • Tanya Simuni, MD, is AC Nielsen Professor of Neurology and Director, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Simuni earned her Bachelor of Science and medical degrees from Leningrad Medical School, Russia. She completed a neurology residency and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Temple University, Philadelphia, and a fellowship in movement disorders at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. She joined the neurology faculty at Northwestern University in 2000. She has built a multidisciplinary Parkinson’s disease center that has been designated a Center of Excellence by the National Parkinson’s Foundation.

Dr. Simuni’s research interests include experimental pharmacology, early diagnosis, non-motor manifestations and surgical management of Parkinson’s disease. As principal or co-investigator of numerous NINDS, MJFF and industry sponsored clinical trials, Dr. Simuni has done extensive research on the treatment of Parkinson’s disease focused on studying potential disease modifying strategies. Dr. Simuni is the principal investigator on the NINDS-funded, multicenter Phase III study of the potential disease modifying agent, isradipine.

Dr. Simuni has received several prestigious awards including the Dixon Foundation Innovation Award, National Parkinson’s Foundation Research Awards, Northwestern Department of Neurology Teacher of the Year Award, and the Northwestern Medical Foundation Award for Excellence in Clinical Leadership. Dr. Simuni dedicates substantial amount of her professional time to teaching and mentoring, and has served as the neurology residency program director at Northwestern.

  • Daniel Weintraub, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Weintraub is professor of psychiatry and neurology at Penn and psychiatrist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A geriatric psychiatrist, he conducts clinical research in the psychiatric and cognitive complications of Parkinson’s disease, and is author of more than 100 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters.

He completed a NIMH Career Development Award titled “Depression Diagnosis and Treatment in Parkinson Disease”, and has been PI on grants from the VA, Penn, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and several industry-sponsored studies, and is current Clinical Core Leader of the Penn Udall Center focused on cognition in Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Weintraub is Associate Editor for Movement Disorders journal, formerly was on the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), has been a member of four Movement Disorder Society (MDS) task forces to revise and make recommendations for the assessment of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in Parkinson’s disease, and was chair of the Psychiatry Subgroup of the NINDS Common Data Elements (CDE) project.

  • Kalpana M. Merchant, PhD, President and CSO, TransThera Consulting Co.; Adjunct Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis

Dr. Kalpana Merchant has deep expertise in the neurobiology of chronic neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. She has nearly 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development with a special emphasis on translational strategies that improve the success rate of drug development.

In March 2014, Kalpana established a life sciences business that provides consultancy services to non-profit institutions and start-up pharmaceutical/ biotechnology companies. She continues to remain engaged in training and mentoring of graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and junior faculty through her academic positions.

Prior to her consulting activities, Kalpana worked in the US pharmaceutical industry as a scientific contributor and in strategic leadership/ management roles. She retired in March 2014 from Eli Lilly and Company where she was the Chief Scientific Officer for Tailored Therapeutics – Neuroscience, accountable for scientific and business strategies to deliver personalized therapies and associated biomarkers for the neuroscience portfolio – from discovery through Phase III.

Kalpana received her PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Utah. Following a postdoctoral research fellowship at University of Washington, she was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the same institution. She was recruited to Eli Lilly in 2003 from Pharmacia Corp., where she had contributed to neuroscience drug discovery research for 10 years.

Kalpana is engaged in the wider scientific community via her service on the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council and the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as an advisor to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, membership of The Wellcome Trust Review Board as well as several professional societies.

“We are pleased to welcome Drs. Tanya Simuni, Daniel Weintraub and Kalpana Merchant to Anavex’s Scientific Advisory Board,” stated Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. “These world-renowned researchers bring extensive experience in neurological diseases to Anavex. I am confident they will make important contributions to our SAB and to the continued development of ANAVEX 2-73 and other compounds in our pipeline for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.”

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 diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. Anavex’s lead drug candidate, ANAVEX 2-73, is currently in a Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX 2-73 is an orally available drug candidate that restores cellular homeostasis by targeting sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors and successfully completed Phase 1 with a clean safety profile. Preclinical studies demonstrated its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. It has also exhibited anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties in animal models, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy and others. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has awarded Anavex a research grant to develop ANAVEX 2-73 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease to fully fund a preclinical study, which could justify moving ANAVEX 2-73 into a Parkinson’s disease clinical trial. ANAVEX 3-71, also targeting sigma-1 and M1 muscarinic receptors, is a promising preclinical drug candidate demonstrating disease modifications against the major Alzheimer’s hallmarks in transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice, including cognitive deficits, amyloid and tau pathologies, and also with beneficial effects on neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunctions. Further information is available at

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

Matthew Haines
River East Investor Relations, LLC

Dennis Dobson, Jr.
Dobson Media Group
(203) 258-0159

bottom of page