1. Anavex Life Sciences (OTCQB: AVXL) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. What specific diseases is the company concentrating on?
Our lead product, ANAVEX PLUS, is directed toward Alzheimer’s disease. We also have a pipeline of other Central Nervous System (CNS) therapeutics including Parkinson’s disease (PD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and depression as well as therapeutic candidates for cancer.
2. Can you elaborate on your compounds for diseases of the central nervous system, and cancer?
Anavex CNS compounds target all hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and hence should be disease modifying and should also have potential application also in other neurodegenerative diseases like PD, ALS, depression and epilepsy. Anavex cancer compounds target melanoma, pancreatic, prostate and other cancers and are earlier stage than the CNS compounds at this point in time.
3. Please discuss the clinical phases in drug development for each.
ANAVEX 2-73 and ANAVEX PLUS phase 2a trial for Alzheimer’s is underway. Advance preclinical research with theses and also other drug candidates, ANAVEX 3-71 and ANAVEX 1-41 are under way in Parkinson’s, ALS, depression and epilepsy. The cancer compounds we have are in earlier preclinical stages.
4. Could you explain the difference between your Alzheimer’s disease drug and what is currently available or in development?
We know that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is complicated. In the past, the focus of development targeting Abeta plaques to alleviate AD has, unfortunately, not been successful in recent clinical trials. Most recent research is showing, however, that not only Abeta damages brain cells; rather, the Abeta oligomers might act in conjunction with tau hyper-phosphorylation, calcium imbalance, inflammation, as well as mitochondrial dysfunction. Interestingly, healthy brain cells have the ability to clear Abeta proteins very quickly when they are not distressed. Therefore, addressing the disease further upstream by targeting the cell stress directly might be a promising approach.
It has been shown that chronic stress in brain cells, which is highly correlated with age, causes an accumulation of damaged proteins causing protein misfoldings. ANAVEX drug candidates, activates a stress reducing pathway by targeting the Sigma 1- Receptor. The mode of action, specifically, is targeting the mixed muscarinic/ sigma 1-receptor pathways, which have shown to reduce cell stress through calcium modulation, inflammation reduction, mitochochondrial dysfunction reduction and also reducing both Abeta and tau. Hence, by increasing sigma 1-receptors through Sigma 1-receptor agonist ANAVEX PLUS, cell stress and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s should be significantly reduced.
5. Can you provide a brief summary of management's qualifications for leading Anavex’s future?
The management team has both big pharma and biotech and investment banking experience as well as strong scientific background. The scientific advisory board consists of the top Alzheimer's key opinion leaders including among others Doctor Jeff Cummings and Doctor Paul Aisen.
I started with Anavex in July 2013. My background includes over 20 years of healthcare industry experience within large pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industry and investment banking. I have been an investment banker in the healthcare practice at Deutsche Bank, serving pharmaceutical, biotech, and diagnostic companies, and most recently was head of healthcare investment banking at Brimberg & Co. in New York. At Aventis (now Sanofi), I also worked as head of financial planning on all aspects of financial strategy and M&A. I was the Chief Financial Officer of Curis (NASDAQ: CRIS) and ImmunoGen (NASDAQ: IMGN) where during my tenure, shareholder value increased significantly. I have an MS and PhD from the University of Munich in Chemistry and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
For more information about Anavex Life Sciences Corp., check out their website: http://www.anavex.com/
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