AEterna Zentaris to Further Develop Three Follow-up Multi-targeted Cytotoxic Candidates to AEZS-112 as Potential Novel Cancer Treatment



    New In Vitro Data presented at AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on
    Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in San Francisco

    QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ;
Nasdaq:   AEZS), a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy
and oncology, today presented an abstract outlining novel data generated from
three AEZS-112 (formerly ZEN-012) follow-up multi-targeted cytotoxic
candidates at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets
and Cancer Therapeutics being held this week at the Moscone Convention Center
in San Francisco, California. Following encouraging results, the Company will
pursue further research aimed at selecting an AEZS-112 follow-up candidate for
preclinical development in cancer.
    David J. Mazzo, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at AEterna
Zentaris commented, "These encouraging new results for our AEZS-112 follow-up
compounds are further proof of the quality and depth of our internal drug
discovery engine, and we look forward to the continued development of these
compounds as potential novel oral cancer treatments."

    Results

    The abstract #C218 entitled, "Highly Potent Cytotoxic Compounds with
Inhibitory Effects on Tubulin Polymerization and Topoisomerase II", reviewed
results of a pharmacological characterization of three follow-up compound
candidates to AEZS-112, AEterna Zentaris' multi-targeted cytotoxic compound
currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial for solid tumors and lymphoma. The
analysis was aimed at identifying compounds with either quantitative or
qualitative variations in either mode of action - inhibition of tubulin
polymerization, topoisomerase activity as well as antiangiogenic properties -
and/or tumor specificity for subsequent preclinical development.
    AEZS-112 follow-up candidates were subjected to comprehensive in vitro
profiling with respect to mode of action, metabolic stability and interference
with clonogenic growth of human xenograft derived cell lines.

    Conclusions

    
    - All three AEZS-112 follow-up candidates were equal to or more efficient
      in exerting cytotoxic activity in tumor cell lines and inhibiting
      tubulin polymerization than AEZS-112, whereas induction of cell cycle
      arrest and apoptosis was slightly improved;
    - An interesting difference to the AEZS-112 profile is the inhibition of
      topoisomerase I by compounds 2 and 3. Moreover, compound 2 displayed
      significant higher potency for topoisomerase II inhibition than
      AEZS-112;
    - In vitro plasma and liver microsomal stability of the follow-up
      candidates are comparable to AEZS-112, thus demonstrating suitability
      for in vivo efficacy studies;
    - Interference with clonogenic growth of xenograft-derived cells revealed
      variability in the response of the different tumor classes to AEZS-112
      and compound 1 treatment as a basis for selection of the most
      appropriate in vivo efficacy models.
    

    Based on their interesting in vitro profiles, all three follow-up
candidates will be subjected to human tumor xenograft in vivo models aimed at
selecting an AEZS-112 follow-up candidate for preclinical development.

    The poster presentation is available in the Investor section of the
Company's website under "Events and Webcasts" at www.aeternazentaris.com.

    About AEZS-112

    AEZS-112 is a novel oral multi-targeted cytotoxic compound with
inhibitory effects on tubulin polymerization, topoisomerase II and
angiogenesis. In January 2007, the Company initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial
for solid tumors and lymphoma; primary endpoints will focus on determining the
safety and tolerability of the compound.
    AEZS-112 has shown potent in vitro anti-proliferative activity at
nanomolar concentrations against human tumor cell lines of different origin.
The compound is active in tumor cell lines which are resistant to cisplatin
and doxorubicin as well as to tubulin inhibitors such as vincristine and
paclitaxel. Given orally once or twice weekly, AEZS-112 proved to be a potent
inhibitor of in vivo tumor growth in different models including mammary,
colon, skin, lung, renal and leukemic cancers.

    About AEterna Zentaris Inc.

    AEterna 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.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.




For further information:

For further information: Jenene Thomas, Senior Director, Investor
Relations & Corporate Communications, (908) 938-1475,
jenene.thomas@aeternazentaris.com; Paul Burroughs, Media Relations, (418)
652-8525 ext. 406, paul.burroughs@aeternazentaris.com

Organization Profile

Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

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