Anavex Life Sciences Corp (NASDAQ:AVXL) was one of Insider Financial’s top runners a few years back. We covered the stock extensively and our readers made a great deal of money with the stock when we rode it to $14 a share.
However, since then, AVXL has made a series of lower highs and lower lows. 2018 was particularly rough for shareholders and one which we warned our readers about last February. We said at the time:
The company finds itself in a precarious position as it needs to achieve important milestones in the development of its most promising candidate drugs. Failure to do so could result in a further slid of the stock as investors continue to question whether the programs will ever result in drugs capable of gaining regulatory approval. Investing in Anavex while taking into consideration where it is in clinical trials and financial position would be taking a big risk. The stock is under immense selling pressure and until the company is able to sort out some of the underlying issues, taking a back seat would be a good idea.
But AVXL has caught our attention again as the stock has made a nice move off 52-week lows and on steady volume. Let’s see what is happening now with AVXL.
Anavex is focused on the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, 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.
New Year, New Hire
Starting the New Year off right, Anavex appointed Walter E. Kauffman, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kauffman is one of the world’s foremost experts on Rett Syndrome. 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.
Why Dr. Kauffman matters
Anavex Life Sciences received confirmation from the FDA that its Investigational New Drug application (IND) is now open for ANAVEX2-73 for the treatment of Rett syndrome, a rare and catastrophic neurodevelopmental disease back in October. ANAVEX2-73 activates the Sigma-1 receptor protein, which serves as a molecular chaperone and functional modulator involved in restoring homeostasis. It has already received orphan drug designation for the treatment of Rett syndrome. By hiring Dr. Kauffman, AVXL has the best in the business to see ANAVEX2-73 from trial to commercialization.
Currently trading with a market cap of $78 million, AVXL has $22 million in cash on hand to fund its research and development. With the addition of a major scientist like Dr. Kauffman, AVXL looks to be making a comeback and turning a corner. 2019 might be the year the AVXL bulls have been waiting for.
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Disclosure: We have no position in AVXL and have not been compensated for this article.
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