QUÉBEC CITY, May 31, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced that an article published in the May 2012 issue of Plos One, outlines a novel mechanism of action of the Company's oral anti-cancer compound, perifosine, which could provide a rationale for a novel approach to the treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MMe), an aggressive type of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. The article titled, "Perifosine as a Potential Novel Anti-Cancer Agent Inhibits EGFR/MET-AKT Axis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma", G. Pinton, A. Gabriella Manente, G. Angeli, L. Mutti, L. Moro, is available at www.plosone.org. Plos One is an international, peer reviewed on-line publication.
Perifosine's activity was tested on human mesothelial cells and different mesothelioma cell lines, in order to provide evidence of its efficacy as single agent and combined therapy.
Data demonstrated that perifosine caused a dose-dependent reduction of Akt activation, at concentrations causing MMe cell growth arrest. Moreover, data described a novel mechanism of perifosine that interferes, upstream of Akt, affecting EGFR and MET phosphorylation. Finally, data demonstrated a significant increase in cell toxicity when MMe cells were treated with perifosine in combination with cisplatin.
This study provides a novel mechanism of action of perifosine, directly inhibiting EGFR/MET-Akt1/3 axis, providing a rationale for a novel translational approach to the treatment of MMe.
About Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MMe)
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is a rapidly lethal cancer associated with exposure to asbestos that is increasing in incidence worldwide. Since MMe is resistant to conventional therapies, the prognosis of these patients is poor, with a median survival of 11-12 months after diagnosis, therefore, there is an urgent need for effective therapy.
Perifosine is a novel, oral anticancer compound that inhibits Akt activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. It works by interfering with membranes of cancer cells, thereby inhibiting Akt signaling which then affects cell death, growth, differentiation and survival. Perifosine is currently in a Phase 3 trial in multiple myeloma. In this indication, it has been granted Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations by the Food and Drug Administration. It has also received positive Scientific Advice and Orphan Medicinal Product designation from the European Medicines Agency. Rights for perifosine have been out licensed to Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd. for Japan, to Handok Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. for Korea and to Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC for the Middle East and certain countries in North Africa. Aeterna Zentaris holds rights for the rest of the world.
About Aeterna Zentaris
Aeterna Zentaris is an oncology and endocrinology drug development company currently investigating treatments for various unmet medical needs. The Company's pipeline encompasses compounds at all stages of development, from drug discovery through to marketed products. For more information please visit www.aezsinc.com.
For further information:
Ginette Beaudet Vallières
Investor Relations Coordinator
(418) 652-8525 ext. 265
Director of Communications
(418) 652-8525 ext. 406