Anavex Encouraged by Scientific Data Confirming Sigma-1 Receptor Agonist is Potentially Disease-Modifying in Parkinson's Disease

Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

NEW YORK, April 29, 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, other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and various types of cancer, today announced the findings of a research study published in the current issue of peer-reviewed scientific journal Brain. For the first time, scientific data shows that a sigma-1 receptor (S1R) agonist produces functional neurorestoration in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). Anavex is encouraged by the report because its results point to the potential for the Company's S1R drug candidates ANAVEX 2-73, ANAVEX 3-71 (AF710B) and ANAVEX 1-41 of being disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson's disease.

"The findings from this new study are very encouraging and may further increase the scope of the therapeutic potential of our sigma-1 receptor agonists, including ANAVEX 2-73, ANAVEX 3-71 and ANAVEX 1-41," said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. "We look forward to exploring preclinical work with our S1R agonist drug candidates in Parkinson's models."

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including tremors, slowness of movements, stiffness in the arms, torso and legs, and impaired balance and coordination, result from the death of dopamine-generating nerve cells in the brain. While the majority of existing treatment options focus on symptomatic relief, a disease-modifying drug remains an urgent unmet need in the PD market.

The Brain publication describes how the S1R agonist "PRE-084" produced a dose-dependent behavioral and histological neurorestoration accompanied by an upregulation and activation of cell survival pathways in animal models. A neuroplasticity-boosting action is likely to be the main mechanism through which chronic treatment with PRE-084 alone improved behavior. This study indicates that treatments restoring synaptic connectivity in models of Parkinson's disease may produce functional recovery independent of an increase in dopamine levels.

The report, entitled "Pharmacological stimulation of sigma-1 receptors has neurorestorative effects in experimental parkinsonism," was authored by Dr. Angela Cenci and colleagues from the Departments of Experimental Medical Science and Clinical Sciences at Lund University (Lund, Sweden) and the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg (Göteborg, Sweden).

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, other 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 donepezil (Aricept®). The combined therapeutics, called 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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Source:Anavex Life Sciences Corp.