Aeterna Zentaris: Data Safety Monitoring Board Recommends Continuation of Phase 3 Study of Zoptarelin Doxorubicin in Advanced Endometrial Cancer

DSMB's recommendation follows 1rst interim analysis

QUÉBEC CITY, April 27, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board ("DSMB") for the pivotal Phase 3 ZoptEC (Zoptarelin Doxorubicin in Endometrial Cancer) study with zoptarelin doxorubicin in women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer, has completed a pre‑specified first interim futility analysis. The DSMB has recommended that the Phase 3 study continue as planned.

David Dodd, Chairman and CEO of Aeterna Zentaris, commented, "We are very pleased with this positive recommendation from the DSMB on our ZoptEC Phase 3 trial in endometrial cancer, and I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their unwavering dedication. With approximately 90 % of patients enrolled at this time, we are well on our way of completing patient recruitment ahead of the anticipated timeline. We believe that zoptarelin doxorubicin has the potential to become the first FDA approved medical therapy for advanced, recurrent endometrial cancer. This could result in its rapid adoption as a novel core therapy for patient treatment & management, and therefore, could represent a significant market opportunity for the Company. Moving forward, we are continuing to develop our commercialization plans regarding zoptarelin doxorubicin in this indication, including establishing additional partnerships in territories that won't be pursued by Aeterna Zentaris. In addition, contingent on the success of the ZoptEC program, we have additional areas of interest for further therapeutic development, including ovarian, prostate and triple negative breast cancer. Our commitment is to ensure that patients and their physicians have such therapies that can potentially improve and extend the quality of lives." 

The ZoptEC Phase 3 trial is an open-label, randomized-controlled study, comparing the efficacy and safety of zoptarelin doxorubicin, a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well‑known chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin, to doxorubicin alone. It is being conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"). Patients are centrally randomized in a 1:1 ratio and receive either zoptarelin doxorubicin (267 mg/m2) or doxorubicin (60 mg/m2) intravenously, every 3 weeks and for up to 9 cycles. Response will be evaluated every 3 cycles during treatment, thereafter, every 12 weeks until progression. All patients will be followed for survival as the primary efficacy endpoint ("EP"). Secondary EPs include progression-free survival, objective response-rate, and clinical benefit rate.

At this time, sites initiation has been completed with over 120 sites in operation in North America, Europe and Israel. More than 465 patients out of an expected total of 500 have been recruited. A second interim analysis will be conducted according to protocol at approximately 192 events, with the final analysis planned at an anticipated 384 events.

For more information on this trial, please consult (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01767155; EudraCT No: 2012-005546-38; ZoptEC: Zoptarelin doxorubicin in endometrial cancer).

About Zoptarelin Doxorubicin

Zoptarelin doxorubicin represents a new targeting concept in oncology using a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well-known chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin. Zoptarelin doxorubicin is the first intravenous drug in advanced clinical development that directs the chemotherapy agent specifically to LHRH-receptor expressing tumors, which could result in a more targeted treatment with less damage to healthy tissue. The Company is currently conducting a ZoptEC (Zoptarelin doxorubicin in Endometrial Cancer) Phase 3 trial in women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer, while zoptarelin doxorubicin is also in an investigator-initiated Phase 2 trial in prostate cancer. Aeterna Zentaris owns the worldwide rights to this compound except in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) where rights have been out-licensed to Sinopharm A-Think Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Sinopharm, the largest medical and healthcare group in China and on Fortune's Global 500 list. On April 16, 2015, the Company announced the filing of a patent application intended to strengthen the exclusivity of zoptarelin doxorubicin through a unique, significantly lower cost in the manufacturing process.

About Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy in developed countries and develops when abnormal cells amass to form a tumor in the lining of the uterus. It largely affects women over the age of 50 with a higher prevalence in Caucasians and a higher mortality rate among African Americans. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 50,000 new cases of endometrial cancer in the U.S. alone in 2015, with about 20% of recurring disease.

About Aeterna Zentaris

Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology and women's health. For more information, visit www.aezsinc.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the US 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 and clinical trials, 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 efficiently commercialize one or more of its products or product candidates, the ability of the Company to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process, the ability to protect our intellectual property, the potential of liability arising from shareholder lawsuits and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company's quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and US securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance 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.

For further information: Paul Burroughs, Director of Communications, (418) 652-8525 ext. 406, pburroughs@aezsinc.com

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