Anavex Receives Grant from Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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Clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, Anavex Life Sciences Corp., recently announced that it received a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to fund the advancement of ANAVEX 2-73 – a candidate drug for Parkinson’s disease.

The grant will be used to support a study that intends to determine the effect of the drug in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease, which success will largely determine whether ANAVEX 2-73 progresses into clinical testing. This preclinical study may also shed light on the role sigma-1 receptors play in future disease-modifying treatments for the disease.

Lead product candidate, AVAVEX 2-73, works by specifically targeting misfolded proteins known to play key roles in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Scientists believe the drug can boost the body’s immune system through activation of sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors, which then facilitate cells’ return to a “homeostatic” state.

“The development of disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson’s disease is the top priority of The Michael J. Fox Foundation and ANAVEX 2-73 presents a promising approach,” said Marco Baptista, PhD, Senior Associate Director of MJFF Research Programs.  “Companies that receive funding from MJFF have scientifically compelling plans that hold obvious potential to impact our understanding of Parkinson’s and ultimately the development of improved treatments for people with the disease.  To that end, we look forward to the results of the ANAVEX 2-73 study.”

“If successful, this study will accelerate the translation of preclinical findings into the very first clinical trial of ANAVEX 2-73 as a potential disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s disease,” said Angela Cenci, MD, PhD, and Professor at Lund University, where the study will be conducted.  “We are in the fortunate position that ANAVEX 2-73 has already been tested for safety and tolerability in humans, and was found to be a good clinical drug candidate.”

“Anavex is honored to have The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research support the development of our technology and we are pleased to be collaborating with such a prestigious organization,” said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex.  “We hope this research will lead to improved therapies that can maximize the benefits and minimize side effects for Parkinson’s patients.  After reporting positive initial data last month in our ongoing ANAVEX 2-73 Phase 2a clinical trial in Alzheimer’s patients, we expect the trial to be fully enrolled and to have PART A completed by the end of the year.  Our work with MJFF underscores our unwavering commitment to delivering new medications for neurological disorders characterized by deposits of misfolded proteins, including both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”

The preclinical testing of ANAVEX 2-73 on Parkinson’s disease will have its base at the Lund University in Sweden, under the direct supervision of Professor Angela Cenci, MD, PhD.