NEW YORK, Jan. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (“Anavex” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: AVXL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Rett syndrome and other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced the appointment of Walter E Kaufmann, MD to Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Dr. Walter Kaufmann’s clinical focus is on developing novel therapies for genetic disorders associated with intellectual disability. Until recently, he was the Director of the Center for Translational Research at the Greenwood Genetic Center, where he also held the Ravenel Boykin Curry Chair in Genetic Therapeutics. He holds adjunct appointments at Emory University School of Medicine, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Human Genetics, and at the MIND Institute/University of California Davis School of Medicine, where he is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Kaufmann is also a Simons Investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Simons Center for the Social Brain. Before these academic appointments, Dr. Kaufmann was a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a Professor of Pathology, Neurology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A major focus of Dr. Kaufmann’s research has been Rett syndrome, a field where he has published extensively on neurobiology and clinical aspects. He served as founder and leader of RettSearch, the international consortium of Rett syndrome clinical researchers. As such, he co-authored the current diagnostic guidelines for the disorder. He also edited the first clinical textbook on Rett syndrome, published in late 2017. Dr. Kaufmann has also served as Co-Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded Natural History Study of Rett syndrome (RDCRN program). Currently, he leads the Rett Syndrome Molecular Biomarkers Working Group for the Rettsyndrome.org foundation and the Rett Syndrome Behaviour Questionnaire Working Group. Dr. Kaufmann has played different roles, including site investigator, Principal Investigator, and DSMB member/chair, in almost 20 drug trials for neurodevelopmental disorders. In this context, he has been involved in virtually all neurobiologically-based drug trials for Rett syndrome.

Dr. Kaufmann has published more than 220 journal articles, most of them original publications. He has also served on several editorial boards and as reviewer for over 100 scientific journals.

“I am looking forward to working together with the Anavex team. I hope to bring expertise and experience to Anavex in order to succeed in the development of ANAVEX®2-73 for the severely devastating indication Rett syndrome but also Parkinson’s disease dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, since there is such a significant unmet medical need,” commented Walter Kaufmann, MD.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr Kaufmann to join Anavex’s team,” stated Christopher U Missling, PhD, President and CEO of Anavex. “Dr Kaufmann brings extensive experience in Rett syndrome and other related disorders to Anavex. I am looking forward to his involvement in execution of the ongoing clinical studies to the continued development of ANAVEX®2-73 for both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.”

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (Nasdaq: AVXL) is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Rett syndrome and other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. Anavex’s lead drug candidate, ANAVEX®2-73, recently completed a successful Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 is an orally available drug candidate that restores cellular homeostasis by targeting sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors. Preclinical studies demonstrated its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. ANAVEX®2-73 also exhibited anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties in animal models, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research previously awarded Anavex a research grant, which fully funded a preclinical study to develop ANAVEX®2-73 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ANAVEX®3-71, which targets sigma-1 and M1 muscarinic receptors, is a promising preclinical drug candidate demonstrating disease-modifying activity against the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice, including cognitive deficits, amyloid and tau pathologies. In preclinical trials, ANAVEX®3-71 has shown beneficial effects on neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Further information is available at www.anavex.com. You can also connect with the company on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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.

For Further Information:

Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Research & Business Development
Toll-free: 1-844-689-3939
Email:  info@anavex.com

Investors & Media:
Scott Gordon
Core IR
scottg@coreir.com