Anavex Life Sciences

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Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Industry Biopharmaceuticals
Headquarters New York, New York, USA
Key people Christopher U. Missling, MS, PhD, MBA, President and CEO
Tom Skarpelos, Director
Michael Gold, MD, Scientific Advisory Board
Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, Scientific Advisory Board
Tangui Nicolas Maurice, Ph.D., Scientific Advisory Board
Paul Aisen, MD, Scientific Advisory Board – Clinical Expert
Jeffrey Cummings, MD, Scientific Advisory Board – Clinical Expert

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. is a pharmaceutical company that develops drug candidates to treat serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company's most advanced compound is ANAVEX 2-73, developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease through disease modification (i.e. could slow down, reverse or prevent Alzheimer’s disease).

ANAVEX 2-73 demonstrated anti-amnesic and neuroprotective effects in pre-clinical studies conducted in France and other EU institutes. Based on these pre-clinical studies, the company sponsored a Phase 1 clinical trial on humans in 2011. The Phase 1 human trial was completed in Germany in collaboration with ABX-CRO Advanced Pharmaceutical Services (ABX-CRO). Results regarding the compound’s safety profile showed no evidence of any treatment-related adverse effects. In the Phase 1 trial, ANAVEX 2-73 was well tolerated by study subjects in doses up to 55 mg, with only mild adverse events in some volunteers. This dose is above the equivalent dose shown to have positive effects in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Observed adverse events at doses above the maximum tolerated single dose included headache and dizziness, which were moderate in severity and reversible. These side effects are often seen with drugs that target central nervous system conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.

ANAVEX 2-73 has been shown to provide protection from oxidative stress, which damages and destroys neurons and is believed to be a primary cause of Alzheimer's disease. Research in recent years indicates that oxidative stress is a precursor to amyloid-beta plaques and tau (see also Neuro-Fibrillary Tangles), and could be a novel and appropriate therapeutic target.[1]

The company's proprietary SIGMACEPTOR™ Discovery Platform has generated small molecule drug candidates with unique modes of action, by making use of Anavex's understanding of sigma receptors. Sigma receptors represent potential targets for therapeutics to potentially combat many human diseases, including Alzheimer’s. When bound by the appropriate ligands, these receptors influence the functioning of multiple biochemical signals that are involved in the pathogenesis of disease.

Program pipeline[edit]

In addition to ANAVEX 2-73, the company has several compounds in different stages of pre-clinical study. They fall into two categories - diseases of the central nervous system and cancer. Specific indications include Alzheimer's disease, depression, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, malignant melanoma, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

ANAVEX 19-144 is the sole active metabolite of ANAVEX 2-73. Like ANAVEX 2-73, pre-clinical data shows that ANAVEX 19-144 exhibits anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anticonvulsant properties in a variety of in vitro systems and specialized animal models. In animal models, ANAVEX 19-144 controls seizures and the epileptogenesis process. The neuroprotective properties may prevent the process that causes long-term damage to tissue and cells as well as biochemical and physiological alterations to the brain from epileptic seizures.[2]

ANAVEX 1-41 is a sigma-1 agonist. Pre-clinical tests showed significant neuroprotective benefits (i.e., protects nerve cells from degeneration or death) through the modulation of endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and oxidative stress. In addition, in animal models, ANAVEX 1-41 prevented the expression of caspase-3, an enzyme that plays a key role in apoptosis and loss of cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates learning, emotion and memory.[3]

ANAVEX 7-1037 is designed for the treatment of prostate cancer. It is a low molecular weight, synthetic compound exhibiting high affinity for sigma-1 receptors at nanomolar levels and moderate affinity for sigma-2 receptors and sodium channels at micromolar levels. In advanced pre-clinical studies, this compound exhibited anti-tumor potential with no toxic side effects. It has also been shown to selectively kill human cancer cells without affecting normal/healthy cells and to significantly suppress tumor growth in immune-deficient mice models.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nunomura A et al. (2006), J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 65(7): 631-641
  2. ^ ANAVEX Advances Drug Candidates for Treatment of Epilepsy (2007)
  3. ^ Espallergues J., Lapalud P., Christopoulos A., Avlani V.A., Sexton P.M., Vamvakides A. and Maurice T., (2007). “Involvement of the sigma1 (s1) receptor in the antiamnesic, but not antidepressant-like, effects of the aminotetrahydrofuran derivative ANAVEX 1-41”. British Journal of Pharmacology.

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