AEterna Zentaris Discloses First In Vitro Data for its PI3K Inhibitors at the AACR Annual Meeting in Los Angeles

    Second generation pyridopyrazine-urea derivative compound series show
    highly selective PI3K-inhibition which could be valuable for cancer

    QUEBEC, April 16 /CNW Telbec/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ; Nasdaq:  
AEZS), a global, pure play biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine
therapy and oncology, today presented an abstract outlining first in vitro
data on its pyridopyrazine derivatives with high selectivity for PI3K
inhibition, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual
Meeting being held this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los
Angeles, California.


    The poster No.2379 entitled, "New Generation of Anilino-Substituted
Pyridopyrazine-Urea Derivatives Show Highly Selective PI3K-Inhibition",
reviewed for the first time, results for a preclinical development program on
a new generation of pyridopyrazine derivatives which clearly indicate that
these drug candidates selectively inhibit PI3K.
    Furthermore, an optimization process of our already known
aryl-pyridopyrazine series led to the identification of a new lead compound in
this series. A medicinal chemistry program was then initiated which resulted
in the synthesis of new anilino-substituted pyridopyrazines. Out of this
second generation series, several derivatives also with highly-selective PI3K
inhibition as well as improved cellular efficacy and better drug-like
properties, were identified.


         - Novel low molecular weight kinase inhibitor
         - Excellent in vitro activity against PI3K
         - High selectivity against a panel of more than 50 kinases
         - Anti-proliferative efficacy in diverse tumor cell-lines
         - Promising bioavailability observed for lead compound
         - PI3K signalling network covers enormous therapeutic potential

    "We are pleased with these results which exemplify our capability of
developing novel therapeutic approaches that add to the breadth and depth of
our product pipeline," said Dr Jurgen Engel, Executive Vice President, Global
R&D and Chief Operating Officer at AEterna Zentaris. "The potential for cancer
treatment with agents inhibiting the PI3K pathway has become a focus in recent
drug discovery and development research. We believe that by developing novel
selective PI3K inhibiting small molecular compounds, we are positioning
ourselves as one of the leaders in this promising therapeutic approach."
    Cellular substrate phosphorylation studies targeting the inhibition of
PI3K and functional cellular assays of tumor cell proliferation have been
performed. In addition, physicochemical and initial ADMET data were collected.
Several derivatives are currently undergoing first pharmacokinetic in vivo

    About AEterna Zentaris Inc.

    AEterna Zentaris Inc. is a global, pure play 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

    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

For further information:

For further information: Jenene Thomas, Senior Director, Investor
Relations & Corporate Communications, (418) 655-6420,; Paul Burroughs, Media Relations, (418)
652-8525, ext. 406,

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