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Anavex appoints Dr. Dimitri Goundis to lead Clinical Development

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Anavex Life Sciences Corp. ("ANAVEX") (OTCBB: AVXL) today announced the appointment of Dr. Dimitri Goundis as Project Director of Clinical Development as the company prepares to enter human clinical trials with its lead Alzheimer's compound within the next 12 months.

Dr. Goundis has more than 20 years experience in the management of clinical trials, including leadership positions at Speedel AG (SWX: SPPN), The Medicines Company (NASDAQ: MDCO) and Roche (SWX: ROG). He has successfully led the development of several medications currently on the market, including SPP 100 (Tekturna/Rasilez), which was licensed by Novartis (NYSE: NVS) and subsequently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic), Switzerland's drug and device regulatory agency.

Dr. Goundis will lead the clinical development of ANAVEX's robust pipeline. He will establish a clinical development team as well as select and manage the contract research organizations that will work with ANAVEX to move its drug candidates through clinical trials in preparation for submission to the FDA and other regulatory agencies. Dr. Goundis will be responsible for medicinal chemistry and for galenics, which pertains to the formulation of therapeutic agents into palatable or otherwise practically useful formulations.

"We are honored to welcome Dr. Goundis as a key member of ANAVEX's senior management team and believe we will benefit enormously from his wealth of drug development experience," said Dr. Kontzalis, Chief Executive Officer for ANAVEX. "Dr. Goundis' successful track record in clinical trials and his proven achievements in accelerating drug development programs will provide critical support for our business objectives as we look to file Investigational New Drug applications for three lead drug candidates and commence Phase 1 clinical trials of our lead Alzheimer's compound over the next 12 months."

"I am pleased to join the ANAVEX team at such a critical juncture in the company's growth and to be leading the development of a group of novel drug compounds with disease-modifying potential," said Dr. Goundis. "ANAVEX's approach to treating diseases is unique and unmatched in the industry. Our drug candidates have the potential to be safer and more effective than medications currently on the market because they aim to modify and treat the underlying causes, as opposed to just the symptoms, of Alzheimer's, epilepsy and various types of cancer.

Prior to joining ANAVEX, Dr. Goundis spent six years in various management roles with his most recent as Managing Director at Speedel Experimenta, the late-stage research unit of public biopharmaceutical company Speedel AG. During his tenure, Dr. Goundis led the successful development of SPP100 from Phase I through Phase IIb clinical trials, at which time Novartis exercised its license-back option. Today, SPP100 is sold in the United States under the trade name Tekturna and in Europe under the name Rasilez to treat hypertension. In addition, Dr. Goundis spent several years with lead responsibility for the company's entire development portfolio, including compounds in Phases I, II and III.

Dr. Goundis' background also includes director-level positions with The Medicines Company, where he was responsible for leading and managing the CNS business unit, and Roche, where he managed projects across a variety of therapeutic areas including Rocaltrol(R) in osteoporosis, Aurorix(R) in anxiety disorders and Alcar(R) in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. He holds a B.Sc. (Honors) in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of London, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oxford University and a Certificate in Investment Management from the London Business School.

About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. ( is an emerging biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel drug targets for the treatment of cancer and neurological diseases. The company's proprietary SIGMACEPTOR(TM) Discovery Platform involves the rational drug design of compounds that fulfill specific criteria based on unmet market needs and new scientific advances. Selected drug candidates demonstrate high, non-exclusive affinity for sigma receptors, which are involved in the modulation of multiple cellular biochemical signaling pathways.

ANAVEX's SIGMACEPTOR(TM)-N program involves the development of novel and original drug candidates, targeting neurological and neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, depression). The company's lead drug candidates exhibit high affinity for sigma receptors with strong evidence for anti-amnesic, neuroprotective, anti-apoptotic, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, anti-depressant and anxiolytic properties.

ANAVEX SIGMACEPTOR(TM)-C program involves the development of novel and original drug candidates targeting cancer. The company's lead drug candidates exhibit high affinity for sigma receptors with strong evidence for selective pro-apoptotic, anti-metastatic and low toxicity properties in various types of solid cancers such as colon, prostate, breast and lung.

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 and uncertainties inherent in drug discovery and development, which include, without limitation, the potential failure of development candidates to advance through preclinical studies or demonstrate safety and efficacy in clinical testing and the ability to file an IND or commence clinical studies. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. 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.

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SOURCE Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
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