Æterna Zentaris: Scientific Article Supports Perifosine?s Development in Kidney Cancer

Article published in December 2009 issue of the Journal of Urology

Quebec City, Canada, November 9, 2009 – Æterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS; TSX: AEZ) (the “Company”), a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, today announced publication of a scientific article in the renowned Journal of Urology, supporting the development of the Company’s PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor oral compound, perifosine, for the treatment of cancer. The article outlines the pivotal role of PI3K and Akt signaling pathways in renal cell carcinoma pathogenesis thus, representing an ideal target for therapeutic intervention. Perifosine is described as the most advanced PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor, which has already proved to be clinically active, as well as an ideal compound to combine with other anticancer agents. Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: KERX), is Æterna Zentaris’ partner and licensee for perifosine (KRX-0401) in the North American market.

The extensive article focuses on the role of the PI3K/Akt pathway in renal cell carcinoma pathogenesis, and on preclinical and clinical activity of compounds specifically targeting this pathway. Clinical data and perspectives on several compounds at different stages of development were also reviewed. The authors’ conclusions on perifosine as a single agent or in combination therapy were based on data from several Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies in multiple types of cancer, including renal cell carcinoma.

The authors also mention the investigation of perifosine in sarcoma, pancreas, prostate and hepatocellular carcinomas, because of the pathogenetic relevance of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways in these cancers. They refer to the activity of perifosine in Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia for which perifosine targets NFkappaB.

The article entitled, “Phosphatidylinositol-3-Kinase/Akt Signaling Pathway and Kidney Cancer, and the Therapeutic Potential of Phosphatidylinositol-3-Kinase/Akt Inhibitors”, Camillo Porta and Robert A. Figlin, appears in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Urology.

About Perifosine

Perifosine is a novel oral anticancer agent that modulates several key signal transduction pathways, including Akt, MAPK, and JNK that have been shown to be critical for the survival of cancer cells. Perifosine has demonstrated both safety and clinical efficacy in several tumor types, both as a single agent and in combination with novel therapies. Perifosine is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for multiple tumor types, with a Phase 3 in multiple myeloma, under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA), pending commencement by year-end. Perifosine has also received Orphan Drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

About Æterna Zentaris Inc.

 

Æterna Zentaris Inc. is a global 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.aezsinc.com<http://www.aezsinc.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. 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 availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, 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 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. 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 except if we are required by a governmental authority or applicable law.

 

 

Investor Relations

Ginette Vallières

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: November 2009

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