Aeterna Zentaris: Journal of Clinical Oncology Publishes Phase 2 Clinical Trial Results of Perifosine Plus Capecitabine in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Ongoing Phase 3 trial under Special Protocol Assessment and with Fast Track designation is fully enrolled

QUÉBEC CITY, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company"), today announced that a manuscript entitled, "Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase 2 Trial of Perifosine Plus Capecitabine as Second- or Third-Line Therapy in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer " reporting Phase 2 activity of perifosine (KRX-0401) in the treatment of patients with refractory, advanced colorectal cancer (mCRC), was selected for publication in the October 3, 2011 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). Perifosine, the Company's Akt/PI3K inhibitor, is currently being investigated in a Phase 3 trial entitled the "X-PECT" (Xeloda® + Perifosine Evaluation in Colorectal cancer Treatment), which is a randomized (1:1), double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of perifosine + capecitabine vs. placebo + capecitabine. In July, the Company announced the completion of enrolment of the Phase 3 X-PECT study, with approximately 465 patients in the United States randomized. Approximately 360 events of death will trigger the un-blinding of the study. Study completion is expected in Q1 2012.

The JCO publication highlights the efficacy and safety data on the 38 mCRC patients participating in this Phase 2, randomized, multicenter study, comparing perifosine plus capecitabine (P-CAP) to placebo plus capecitabine. Based on the data, in which the combination of P-CAP demonstrated statistical significance with respect to median overall survival and median time to tumor progression, the investigators concluded that the P-CAP combination showed promising clinical activity compared to single-agent capecitabine, and that the difference in clinical outcome seen with the addition of perifosine was impressive.

Efficacy data from this study was previously presented in June 2010 at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

A copy of the article featured in the current online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology can be obtained at http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2011/10/03/JCO.2011.36.1980.abstract.

About Perifosine

Perifosine is a novel, oral anticancer treatment that inhibits Akt activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. The product works by interfering with membranes of cancer cells thereby inhibiting Akt signaling which then affects cell death, growth, differentiation and survival. Perifosine, in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, is currently being studied for the treatment of colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma and other cancers, and is the most advanced anticancer agent of its class. Perifosine, as monotherapy, is being explored in other indications. The FDA has granted perifosine orphan-drug designation in multiple myeloma and neuroblastoma, and Fast Track designations in both multiple myeloma and refractory advanced colorectal cancer. Additionally, an agreement was reached with the FDA to conduct the Phase 3 trials in both of these indications under a Special Protocol Assessment. Perifosine has also been granted orphan medicinal product designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in multiple myeloma. Furthermore, perifosine has received positive Scientific Advice from the EMA for both the multiple myeloma and advanced colorectal cancer programs, with ongoing Phase 3 trials for these indications expected to be sufficient for registration in Europe. Perifosine rights have been licensed to Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) for North America, to Yakult Honsha for Japan and to Handok for Korea.

About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Aeterna Zentaris is a late-stage oncology drug development company currently investigating potential treatments for various cancers including colorectal, multiple myeloma, endometrial, ovarian, prostate and bladder cancer. The Company's innovative approach of "personalized medicine" means tailoring treatments to a patient's specific condition and to unmet medical needs. Aeterna Zentaris' deep pipeline is drawn from its proprietary discovery unit providing the Company with constant and long-term access to state-of-the-art therapeutic options. For more information please visit www.aezsinc.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that 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 availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the risk that safety and efficacy data from any of our Phase 3 trials may not coincide with the data analyses from previously reported Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 clinical trials, the ability of the Company 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 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. We disclaim any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, unless required to do so by a governmental authority or by applicable law.

SOURCE AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.

CONTACT:

Investor Relations
Ginette Beaudet Vallieres
Investor Relations Coordinator
(418) 652-8525 ext. 265
gvallieres@aezsinc.com 

Media Relations
Paul Burroughs
Director of Communications
(418) 652-8525 ext. 406
pburroughs@aezsinc.com

Posted: October 2011

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