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Avanir Pharmaceuticals Announces FDA Acceptance of IND for AVP-786 for the Adjunctive Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted the company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a Phase II study assessing the safety and efficacy of AVP-786, Avanir's next generation compound. The company plans to initiate this study evaluating AVP-786 for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) during the third calendar quarter of 2014.

"The endorsement of this Phase II study by the division of Psychiatry Products at the FDA lends support for the expedited development path for AVP-786 and is allowing us to reference the extensive data generated during AVP-923 development programs. This is an important moment for the company, as this will be our first clinical study evaluating AVP-786 in patients," said Joao Siffert, MD, chief medical officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals. "There are millions of patients with MDD who do not respond adequately to existing therapies.  With a mechanism of action addressing multiple neurotransmitter systems involved in depression, AVP-786, if approved, could offer a potential new treatment option for these patients. We look forward to initiating our clinical research program in the coming months."

The filing of this IND represents the first step in Avanir's plan to develop AVP-786 for a broad array of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

About the Study

This multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept Phase II study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of AVP-786 in patients suffering from MDD who have had an inadequate response to commonly prescribed antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and  serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). The study is expected to enroll approximately 200 patients in the United States. The study will utilize innovative methodologies to reduce the placebo response, which is commonly observed in depression trials. Eligible patients will be randomized to receive either AVP-786 or placebo for 10 weeks. The main efficacy measure is the Montgomery-Ǻsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score, a standard clinical measure of depression. Secondary outcome measures include assessments of disease severity, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Pharmacokinetics and standard safety assessments will also be conducted.

About Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a condition in which patients exhibit depressive symptoms, such as a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a two-week period, and demonstrate impaired social, occupational, educational or other important functioning. An estimated 16.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from MDD in a given year, with as many as two-thirds of patients who are diagnosed with MDD do not experience adequate improvement with initial antidepressant therapy.

About AVP-786

AVP-786, the company's next-generation AVP-923 compound, is a novel investigational drug product consisting of a combination of deuterium modified dextromethorphan (an uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, sigma-1 receptor agonist and inhibitor of the serotonin transporter (SERT) and norepinephrine (NET) transporter) and ultra-low dose quinidine (a CYP2D6 enzyme inhibitor). Incorporation of deuterium into specific positions of the dextromethorphan molecule strengthens the chemical bonds and reduces susceptibility to enzyme cleavage and first pass metabolism, but without altering its pharmacology. By decreasing the metabolism rate, AVP-786 requires a substantially lower level of the metabolic inhibitor quinidine. This may result in a reduced potential for drug interactions, while maintaining its therapeutic efficacy. AVP-786 is an investigational drug not approved by the FDA.

About AVP-923

AVP-923 is a combination of two well-characterized compounds, the active CNS ingredient dextromethorphan hydrobromide (an uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, sigma-1 receptor agonist and inhibitor of the serotonin transporter (SERT) and norepinephrine (NET) transporter) plus low-dose quinidine sulfate (a CYP2D6 enzyme inhibitor), which serves to increase the bioavailability of dextromethorphan. AVP-923 is being studied in several ongoing company sponsored Phase II clinical trials including agitation in Alzheimer's disease, levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease, and multiple investigator initiated studies. AVP-923 is an investigational drug not approved by the FDA.

About Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing innovative medicines to patients with central nervous system disorders of high unmet medical need. As part of our commitment, we have extensively invested in our pipeline and are dedicated to advancing medicines that can substantially improve the lives of patients and their loved ones. For more information about Avanir, please visit

AVANIR® is a trademark or registered trademark of Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

©2014 Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Forward Looking Statements

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements regarding Avanir's plans, potential opportunities, financial or other expectations, projections, goals objectives, milestones, strategies, market growth, timelines, legal matters, product pipeline, clinical studies, product development and the potential benefits of its commercialized products and products under development are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to the relative benefits of AVP-786, the timing for an approval decision from the FDA and the prospects for commercial success and adoption, if approved by the FDA. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the risks and uncertainties associated with Avanir's ability to recruit clinical investigator sites, the ability to enroll patients into the clinical trial, the ability to commence clinical studies within expected timelines, the ability to pursue an expedited development path, the success of these clinical studies, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents subsequently filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are based on current information that may change and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the issuance of this press release.

Avanir Investor & Media Contact
Ian Clements, PhD
+1 (949) 389-6700

Brewlife Media Contact
Kelly France
+1 (415) 946-1076



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SOURCE Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Copyright©2014 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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