AEterna Zentaris Discloses First In Vitro Data for its PI3K Inhibitors at the AACR Annual Meeting in Los Angeles

Second generation pyridopyrazine-urea derivative compound series show highly selective PI3K-inhibition which could be valuable for cancer treatment

QUEBEC, April 16, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. , a global, pure play biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, today presented an abstract outlining first in vitro data on its pyridopyrazine derivatives with high selectivity for PI3K inhibition, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting being held this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California.

Results

The poster #2379 entitled, "New Generation of Anilino-Substituted Pyridopyrazine-Urea Derivatives Show Highly Selective PI3K-Inhibition", reviewed for the first time, results for a preclinical development program on a new generation of pyridopyrazine derivatives which clearly indicate that these drug candidates selectively inhibit PI3K.

Furthermore, an optimization process of our already known aryl-pyridopyrazine series led to the identification of a new lead compound in this series. A medicinal chemistry program was then initiated which resulted in the synthesis of new anilino-substituted pyridopyrazines. Out of this second generation series, several derivatives also with highly-selective PI3K inhibition as well as improved cellular efficacy and better drug-like properties, were identified.

    Conclusions


         - Novel low molecular weight kinase inhibitor

         - Excellent in vitro activity against PI3K

         - High selectivity against a panel of more than 50 kinases

         - Anti-proliferative efficacy in diverse tumor cell-lines

         - Promising bioavailability observed for lead compound

         - PI3K signalling network covers enormous therapeutic potential

"We are pleased with these results which exemplify our capability of developing novel therapeutic approaches that add to the breadth and depth of our product pipeline," said Dr Jurgen Engel, Executive Vice President, Global R&D and Chief Operating Officer at AEterna Zentaris. "The potential for cancer treatment with agents inhibiting the PI3K pathway has become a focus in recent drug discovery and development research. We believe that by developing novel selective PI3K inhibiting small molecular compounds, we are positioning ourselves as one of the leaders in this promising therapeutic approach."

Cellular substrate phosphorylation studies targeting the inhibition of PI3K and functional cellular assays of tumor cell proliferation have been performed. In addition, physicochemical and initial ADMET data were collected. Several derivatives are currently undergoing first pharmacokinetic in vivo studies.

About AEterna Zentaris Inc.

AEterna Zentaris Inc. is a global, pure play biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology with proven expertise in drug discovery, development and commercialization.

News releases and additional information are available at www.aeternazentaris.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements preceded by, followed by, or that include the words "believes", "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "expects", "estimates", "will," "may", "should", "approximately", and the negative or other variations of those terms or comparable terminology, are forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect management's current views, intentions, strategies and plans and are based on certain assumptions.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the ability of AEterna Zentaris to implement its business strategies, the availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the ability of AEterna Zentaris to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company's quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.at www.aeternazentaris.com.

CONTACT: Jenene Thomas, Senior Director, Investor Relations & CorporateCommunications, (418) 655-6420, ; PaulBurroughs, Media Relations, (418) 652-8525, ext. 406, jenene.thomas@aeternazentaris.com paul.burroughs@aeternazentaris.com

Ticker Symbol: (Toronto:AEZ.),(NASDAQ-NMS:AEZS)

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Posted: April 2007

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