AVANIR to Present Pivotal Zenvia Phase III Data at American Neurological Association and World Congress on Controversies in Neurology Annual Meetings

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., October 6, 2009 - AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) today announced it will present detailed data from the Phase III confirmatory STAR trial in the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) at the 3rd World Congress on Controversies in Neurology (CONy) in Prague, Czech Republic on October 8 - 11, 2009 and the American Neurological Association (ANA) 134th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD on October 11 - 14, 2009.

At the CONy meeting, the poster session will take place on Friday, October 9, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Central Europe Time (CET). This late-breaker poster will feature data from the cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with PBA in the STAR trial, including the previously unreleased secondary efficacy endpoint of CNS-LS and MS-related pain.

The accepted poster is:


At the ANA meeting, the poster session will take place on Tuesday, October 13, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). This late-breaker poster will feature the full double-blind data set from the STAR trial, including previously unreleased additional analyses of the primary endpoint and all of the secondary efficacy endpoints.

The accepted poster is:


"We are very pleased that these exciting new data have been accepted for late-breaker presentations," said Randall Kaye, MD, AVANIR's Chief Medical Officer. "We look forward to sharing the full STAR trial double-blind data set as well as data from the MS cohort. These data provide additional insight into the utility of Zenvia in PBA as well as other areas of potential clinical development. We believe the full data set further demonstrates that the new lower dose formulations of Zenvia offer an improved product profile and we remain on track to submit a full response to the FDA in the first half of 2010 with an approval decision anticipated in the second half of next year."

Copies of both posters will be available on the Company's website at www.avanir.com shortly after they have been presented or can be obtained from the Company by request at 101 Enterprise, Suite 300, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656.


The STAR (Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy Results of AVP-923 in PBA) trial is a confirmatory Phase III trial of Zenvia in patients with pseudobulbar affect (PBA). The randomized, multi-center, international STAR trial compares active treatment with Zenvia 30/10 mg BID and Zenvia 20/10 mg BID to placebo during a three-month, double-blinded phase, followed by a three-month, open-label extension study. At the conclusion of enrollment, AVANIR enrolled a total of 326 patients (197 with underlying ALS and 129 with underlying MS) who exhibited signs and symptoms of PBA across 52 sites in the U.S. and Latin America. A total of 110, 107 and 109 patients were randomized to the Zenvia 30/10 mg group, the Zenvia 20/10 mg group and the placebo group, respectively. The primary efficacy analysis was based on the changes in crying/laughing episode rates recorded in patient diaries. Secondary endpoints for this clinical trial include: 1) Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS) score; 2) Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q); 3) SF-36 Health Survey; 4) Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II); and 5) Pain Rating Scale score (MS patients only). Safety and tolerability of Zenvia were determined by reporting adverse events, physical exam, vital signs, electrocardiogram, respiratory function tests and clinical assessment of clinical laboratory variables. The STAR trial was conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information visit www.pbatrial.com.


Pseudobulbar affect (PBA), also known as emotional lability, is a neurologic disorder that occurs secondary to neurologic disease or brain injury causing sudden and unpredictable episodes of crying, laughing, or other emotional displays. PBA is estimated to impact approximately 2 million people in the United States with underlying neurologic conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, dementias including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. PBA episodes may occur when disease or injury damages the area of the brain that controls normal expression of emotion. This damage can disrupt brain signaling causing a "short circuit" and triggering involuntary PBA episodes. PBA has been shown to impair the lives of patients in both social and occupational settings. There are currently no FDA approved treatments for PBA.


Zenvia™ (dextromethorphan/quinidine) is a combination of two well-characterized compounds: the therapeutically active ingredient dextromethorphan and the enzyme inhibitor quinidine, which serves to increase the bioavailability of dextromethorphan. This first-in-class drug candidate is believed to help regulate excitatory neurotransmission in two ways: through pre-synaptic inhibition of glutamate release via sigma-1 receptor agonist activity and through postsynaptic glutamate response modulation via uncompetitive, low-affinity NMDA antagonist activity. Zenvia is being developed for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and has successfully completed a Phase III trial for diabetic peripheral neuropathic (DPN) pain. In October 2006, the Company received an approvable letter for Zenvia in the treatment of PBA. The Company conducted the STAR trial under a SPA agreement with the FDA utilizing a new lower quinidine dose formulation of Zenvia intended to address safety concerns raised in the Agency's approvable letter for Zenvia in the treatment of PBA. For more information about this trial visit http://www.pbatrial.com, and for more information about the Agency's SPA process, see http://www.fda.gov/cder/guidance/3764fnl.htm. In addition, AVANIR has conducted a Phase III study of Zenvia in DPN pain where the primary endpoints were successfully met. Subsequently the Company released top-line results of a formal PK study that identified alternative lower-dose quinidine formulations of Zenvia for DPN pain intended to deliver similar efficacy and improved safety/tolerability versus the formulations previously tested for this indication. AVANIR is now engaged in discussions with the FDA under the SPA process regarding the design of the next Phase III study in DPN pain and overall program requirements.


AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. AVANIR's lead product candidate, Zenvia, is being developed for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and has successfully completed a Phase III trial for diabetic peripheral neuropathic (DPN) pain. AVANIR has licensed its MIF inhibitor program to Novartis International Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and has sold its anthrax monoclonal antibody program to Emergent BioSolutions. The Company's first commercialized product, Abreva® (docosanol), is marketed in North America by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and is the leading over-the-counter product for the treatment of cold sores. Further information about AVANIR can be found at www.avanir.com and further information about pseudobulbar affect can be found at www.PBAinfo.org.


Statements in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements that are preceded by, followed by, or that include such words as "estimate," "intend," "anticipate," "believe," "plan," "goal," "expect," "project," or similar statements, are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by such statements. For example, there can be no assurance that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve Zenvia for any indication, or that the Company will meet projected timelines. Risks and uncertainties affecting the Company's financial condition and operations also include the risks set forth in AVANIR's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and from time-to-time in other publicly available information regarding the Company. Copies of this information are available from AVANIR upon request. AVANIR disclaims any intent to update these forward-looking statements.

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Oct 06, 2009