Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Anavex Life Sciences has initiated a long-term extension study for patients with early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and treated with ANAVEX2-73 (blarcamesine).

Blarcamesine is an orally available, small-molecule activator of the sigma-1 receptor. It is indicated a play a key role in restoring neural cell homeostasis and promoting neuroplasticity.

The open label study, ATTENTION-AD, is an extension of the ongoing Phase IIb/III ANAVEX2-73-AD-004 clinical study. Phase IIb/III is a placebo-controlled trial conducted over 48 weeks.

Principal investigator for both studies Stephen Macfarlane said: “This is an important development as the patients who have completed the main study, ANAVEX2-73-AD-004, are consistently expressing the wish to gain ongoing access to this investigational therapy.”

ATTENTION-AD will be carried out for two years and will involve AD patients who participated in the ANAVEX2-73-AD-004 study.

Patients can enrol in the extension study only after completing the placebo-controlled Phase IIb/III trial.

ATTENTION-AD will provide additional tolerability and efficacy data and will be performed together with the Phase IIb/III ANAVEX2-73-AD-004 study.

Anavex chief executive officer Christopher U Missling said: “People living with Alzheimer’s disease desperately need new therapies and ATTENTION-AD reflects our commitment to the patients who participated in the Phase IIb/III ANAVEX 2-73-AD-004 study and who have contributed enormously to the development of a potential new medicine for patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study will provide supplemental data on ANAVEX 2-73 (blarcamesine).”

The company’s ANAVEX 2-73 has already completed a successful Phase IIa clinical trial for AD.