Understanding the Brain

Anavex Life Sciences

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Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Type Public Template:OTCBB
Industry Biopharmaceuticals
Headquarters New Jersey, USA
Key people Cameron Durrant, Executive Chairman of the Board

Harvey Lalach, President, CFO, Secretary and Director
Dr. Alexandre Vamvakides, Chief Scientific Officer
Website anavex.com

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of new drugs for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases and different types of cancer, utilizing its proprietary SIGMACEPTOR Discovery Platform.

The Anavex portfolio involves sigma receptor[1] ligand compounds in the preclinical stage that target neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. According to a number of recent studies, these ligands have the ability to target certain CNS conditions, such as depression[2] and Alzheimer’s disease[3], as well as certain types of cancer[4], through agonism or antagonism of sigma receptors[5]

Anavex’s neuroscience program targets compounds that protect and enhance the function of the CNS in order to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, depression and neuropathic pain. The company’s oncology program targets compounds that selectively kill malignant cells to treat three types of cancer which are prostate, melanoma, and pancreatic cancer.

Anavex boasts a network of strategic collaborations with FORENAP Pharma EURL, an international Contract Research Organization (CRO), and leading academic institutions, such as Université Montpellier, University of Strasbourg, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.[6]

Program pipeline

The company’s drug development program is based around its proprietary SIGMACEPTOR Discovery Platform, which generates small-molecule candidates. The company currently has seven product candidates in development for eight disease indications.

Sigmaceptor-N

Anavex’s SIGMACEPTOR-N program involves the development of disease-modifying treatments that target neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

ANAVEX 2-73 is the company’s lead drug candidate to treat Alzheimer’s disease and ANAVEX 19-144 is the lead drug candidate to treat epilepsy. During pre-clinical trials (in-vitro and in-vivo in mice), these compounds demonstrated significant neuroprotective, anti-amnesic[7] and anti-convulsive properties. It also exhibited an excellent safety profile and therapeutic activity at very low doses.[8]

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.[9]

In epilepsy, ANAVEX 19-144 has shown to control seizures and the epileptogenesis process. The neuroprotective properties 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.[10]

The company's ANAVEX 1-41 drug candidate is a compound in pre-clinical development for Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Animal studies indicate that ANAVEX 1-41 prevents the expression of caspase-3, an enzyme that plays a key role in programmed cell death and in the loss of cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates learning, emotion and memory.[11]

ANAVEX 2-73 is scheduled to enter Phase 1 Human Clinical Trials in 2010.

Sigmaceptor-C

Anavex’s SIGMACEPTOR-C program involves the development of novel drug candidates targeting cancer. These compounds induced apoptosis during in-vitro and in-vivo studies in three types of cancers which are prostate, melanoma, and pancreas, demonstrating evidence of pro-apoptotic and anti-metastatic action with low toxicity.

In advanced pre-clinical studies, ANAVEX 1007, the company’s lead drug candidate for the treatment of prostate cancer, revealed anti-tumor potential without major toxic side effects. The compound has also been shown to selectively kill human cancer cells without affecting normal/healthy cells and also to suppress tumor growth in immune-deficient mouse models.[12]

ANAVEX 1007 is scheduled to enter Phase 1 Human Clinical Trials in 2010.

See also

References

  1. Maurice, T., & Su, T.-P., The pharmacology of sigma-1 receptors, Pharmacol Ther (2009), doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.07.001.
  2. Bermack JE, Debonnel G., The role of sigma receptors in depression, J Pharmacol Sci. 2005 Mar;97(3):317-36.
  3. Tangui Maurice, Improving Alzheimer's Disease-Related Cognitive Deficits with s1 Receptor Agonists, Drug News Perspect 2002, 15(10): 617.
  4. Wayne D. Bowen, “Sigma-2 Receptors: Regulation of Cell Growth and Implications for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapeutics” in Sigma Receptors: Chemistry, Cell Biology and Clinical Implications, eds: Rae R. Matsumoto, Wayne D. Bowen, Tsung-Ping Su, Springer, 2007, Chapter 11: 215-236
  5. Matsumoto, Rae R. “Sigma Receptors: Historical Perspective and Background” in Sigma Receptors: Chemistry, Cell Biology and Clinical Implicationseds: Rae R. Matsumoto, Wayne D. Bowen, Tsung-Ping Su. New York: Springer Science, 2007.
  6. World Pharma News http://www.worldpharmanews.com/content/view/265/30/ (January 23, 2008)
  7. Vanessa Villard, Julie Espallergues, Alexandre Vamvakides and Tangui Maurice (July 11–16, 2009) “Anti-amnesic and neuroprotective activities of ANAVEX 2-73, a new aminotetrahydrofuran derivative acting as a mixed muscarinic/sigma-1 ligand, in pharmacological and pathological models of amnesia”. Poster presentation in The Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD), July 11–16 in Vienna, Austria
  8. Johann Meunier, Vanessa Villard, Julie Espallergues, Alexandre Vamvakides and Tangui Maurice, (2007). “Anti-amnesic and neuroprotective activities of ANAVEX 2-73, a new aminotetrahydrofuran derivative acting as a mixed muscarinic/sigma-1 ligands, in pharmacological and pathological models of amnesia”. Poster presentation in Neuroscience 2007, Nov. 3-7 in San Diego, Calif.
  9. Nunomura A et al. (2006), J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 65(7): 631-641
  10. ANAVEX Advances Drug Candidates for Treatment of Epilepsy http://www.drugs.com/clinical_trials/anavex-advances-candidates-epilepsy-2902.html (2007)
  11. 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.
  12. Mahaira G Louisa, Humaira Khan, Chrisiida Tsiblouli, Pantazis Panayotis, Karamitopoulou Evangelia, Vamvakides Alexandros, and Dimas Konstantinos (2007) "Anavex 1007, a novel small synthetic sigma ligand, induces apoptosis in human HCT116 colon cancer cells in vitro and suppression of HCT116 tumor growth in SCID mice." Poster Presentation in the 15th Euroconference on Apoptosis & 4th Training course on 'Concepts and Methods in Programmed Cell Death', October 26–31, 2007 in Portoroz, Slovenia.

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