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Research Report Confirms Opportunity for Anavex Anti-Cancer and Neuropathic Pain Compounds

Sigma-1 Receptor Modulation Preventing Neuropathic Pain Induced by Paclitaxel


NEW YORK – February 26, 2014

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“Anavex” or the “Company”) (OTCQB: AVXL) today announced that a research article in the current issue of peer-reviewed scientific journal Molecular Pain reveals a new opportunity for the Company’s anti-cancer and neuropathic pain compounds.  The article describes that sigma-1 receptor (S1R) modulation prevents neuropathic pain and mitochondrial abnormalities induced by the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel.

Paclitaxel is a first-line anti-tumor agent that frequently produces neuropathic pain, for which no treatment is available.  The lifestyle of patients receiving paclitaxel can be severely impacted and the problem is compounded by the lack of efficacy and frequent incidence of side effects associated with currently available treatments for pain.  There is an important therapeutic opportunity for drug candidates that simultaneously fight cancer and prevent pain.  Research firm GlobalData estimates the global neuropathic pain market alone will reach $6.5 billion in 2015.  This growth will be supported by the increase in the aging population.

“These recent findings validate our pipeline beyond the area of Alzheimer’s and neurological diseases and expand Anavex’s opportunity to address diseases with significant markets,” said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex.  “The unique synergistic mechanism of action of the sigma-1 receptor modulators support further investigation of our existing drug candidates involved in both cancer and neuropathic pain activity.”

In addition to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, Anavex’s focus has been on active molecules for the treatment of cancer and neuropathic pain.  The main goal is to improve effectiveness, tolerance and safety and reduce frequency of side effects in this group of drugs.  In this sense, to modulate the S1R with specific antagonists constitutes a new mechanism of action for cancer and pain in a field that needs new treatments.  The selective S1R antagonist ANAVEX 1007, which revealed anti-tumor activity in several advanced preclinical in-vivo xenograft studies, also exhibited a notable analgesic (pain-relieving) effect in the formalin test operated on mice in which pain sensitizations were obtained by previous administration of paclitaxel in a neuropathic pain model.  In addition, Anavex has a number of other molecules (ANAVEX 1005, ANAVEX 1079, ANAVEX 1066, ANAVEX 1519) with potential activity on this receptor.

According to the newly published report, the treatment of mice with BD-1063, a S1R antagonist, prevented the neuropathic pain as well as mitochondrial abnormalities induced by paclitaxel.  These results suggest that S1R antagonists might have therapeutic value for the prevention of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy.

The report, entitled “Genetic inactivation and pharmacological blockade of sigma-1 receptors prevent paclitaxel-induced sensory-nerve mitochondrial abnormalities and neuropathic pain in mice,” was authored by Dr. José Baeyens and colleagues from Biomedical Research Centre and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Granada.

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, CNS diseases and various types of cancer. ANAVEX 2-73, an orally available drug candidate developed to treat Alzheimer’s through potential disease modification, has undergone an initial Phase 1 human clinical trial and was well tolerated in doses up to 55mg. Results from pre-clinical 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 Aricept® (donepezil). The combined therapeutics 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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