Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:AVXL) shares rose nearly 14% after the clinical stage biopharma company presented preclinical data demonstrating that ANAVEX 2-73, a sigma-1 receptor agonist, restores function in a classic animal model of Parkinson’s disease. Significant improvements were seen on all measures: behavioral, histopathological, and neuroinflammatory endpoints.

Veronica Francardo, PhD, and Angela Cenci, PhD, main authors of the study at Lund University, Sweden, commented: “We are in the fortunate situation that safety and tolerability of this compound have already been proven in human subjects, and that preliminary indications of a cognitive benefit have been obtained in a Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dosing of ANAVEX 2-73 daily for five weeks in a 6-hydroxydopamine lesions mouse model of Parkinson’s disease was followed by a battery of standardized tests that are linked to parkinsonian motor symptoms. The data indicates that ANAVEX 2-73 is well tolerated, induces significant motor recovery (p<0.05), induces neurohistological restoration (p<0.05) and reduces microglial activation (p<0.05), a potential biomarker of Parkinson’s disease. Behavioral patterns were completely normal, meaning no signs of either dystonia or stereotypic behaviors were detected in animals receiving the treatment. Further analyses are ongoing to confirm the neuroprotective effects of the compound and possibly elucidate some of the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the disease-modifying properties of ANAVEX 2-73. The study is funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex, stated, “This initial data is encouraging, and together with already available clinical safety and tolerability data on ANAVEX 2-73, might accelerate the exploration of ANAVEX 2-73 as a potential therapeutic intervention in Parkinson’s disease.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremors, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Parkinson’s disease afflicts more than 10 million people worldwide, typically middle-aged and elderly people. (Original Source)

On the ratings front, AVXL stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 15, FBR analyst Christopher James reiterated a Buy rating on AVXL, with a price target of $10, which implies an upside of 283% from current levels. Separately, on July 27, Maxim Group’s Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $15.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Christopher James and Jason Kolbert have a total average return of -10.5% and -16% respectively. James has a success rate of 42.5% and is ranked #3989 out of 4175 analysts, while Kolbert has a success rate of 29% and is ranked #4058.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company. It is engaged in the discovery and development of new drugs for the treatment of neurological diseases and cancer, utilizing its proprietary drug discovery sigmaceptor platform. The company’s portfolio comprises novel, wholly owned sigma receptor agonists and antagonists.