What happened

Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL -1.80%) stock rocketed as much as 25% higher Monday before landing at a nearly 14% gain at market close. This was hardly surprising, as earlier in the day the company released some excellent news about one of its drug candidates.

So what

Anavex said in a press release that its ANAVEX 2-73, which targets several debilitating central nervous system (CNS) disorders, showed very promising results in a clinical trial. Specifically, the drug seems to activate a key receptor, Sigmar1.

The study was a phase 2 trial for the treatment of adult Rett syndrome patients. This is a rare CNS affliction that generally affects young girls; so far, it has no cure.

Medical professionals conferring in a hospital lobby.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to Anavex, data suggests that Sigmar1 activation "results in the restoration of complete housekeeping function within the body and is pivotal to restoring neural cell homeostasis and promoting neuroplasticity."

Participants in the trial demonstrated a "clinically meaningful and statistically significant ... improvement over placebo in the [Rett Syndrome Behavioral Questionnaire] total score, the trial's key efficacy endpoint." The biotech added that those patients saw balanced improvements during the seven-week study in such problem areas as body rocking, general mood, and repetitive hand behavior.

Now what

The new findings reinforce an encouraging article published in the Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets medical journal earlier this month on ANAVEX 2-73 and a related pipeline drug, ANAVEX 3-71, and their ability to activate Sigmar1. With the latest clinical data, the prospects for both treatments look even better.