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Anavex Encouraged By Scientific Data Confirming Sigma-1 Receptor Agonist Extends Survival in ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

NEW YORK, March 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anavex Life Sciences Corp. ("Anavex" or the "Company") (OTCQB:AVXL), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel drug candidates to treat Alzheimer's, diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and various types of cancer, today announced the findings of a research report published in the current issue of peer-reviewed scientific journal Neuroscience Letters. The Company is encouraged by the report because its results point to potential for ANAVEX 2-73 to treat ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Data showed that sigma-1 receptor (S1R) agonists are effective in suppressing motor neuron degeneration and symptom progression in ALS animal models.

"The findings from this new study are very encouraging and may increase the scope of the therapeutic potential of our sigma-1 receptor agonists, including ANAVEX 2-73," said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. "We are excited to initiate pre-clinical exploration of our S1R agonist drug candidate ANAVEX 2-73 in ALS models."

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating and usually fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the CNS. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure within three to five years from the onset of symptoms. Recently, mutations in the gene of the sigma-1 receptor have been identified as a cause of familial juvenile ALS.

The Neuroscience Letters report describes how the S1R agonist "SA4503" protected motor neuronal cells against induced cell death in both in vitro and in vivo animal models. One important mechanism by which motor neuronal injury is caused involves inhibition of specific components of the mitochondrial electron transfer chain. Therapeutic measures aimed at protecting mitochondrial respiratory chain function may be useful in related familial and possibly other forms of ALS.

ANAVEX 2-73, developed to treat Alzheimer's through potential disease modification, may have a similar beneficial effect on respiratory cell mitochondria, which could be valuable in treating ALS. The drug candidate recently demonstrated its ability to repair mitochondrial functionality in the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved with learning, memory and emotions. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been consistently reported as an early cause of Alzheimer's disease.

The report, entitled "SA4503, a sigma-1 receptor agonist, suppresses motor neuron damage in in vitro and in vivo amyotrophic lateral sclerosis models," was authored by Dr. Hideaki Hara and colleagues from the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Department of Biofunctional Evaluation, Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Gifu, Japan.

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (www.anavex.com) 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.

CONTACT: Anavex Life Sciences Corp. Research & Business Development Email: info@anavex.com Shareholder & Media Relations Toll-free: 1-866-505-2895 Outside North America: +1 (416) 489-0092 Email: ir@anavex.com www.anavex.com

Source:Anavex Life Sciences Corp.