AEterna Zentaris Partner Keryx Reports Positive Phase 2 Data for Perifosine (KRX-0401) in Colon and Kidney Cancer at ASCO Meeting

    Data demonstrates perifosine's anti-cancer activity and efficacy both as
    a single agent and in combination therapy

    QUEBEC CITY, June 1/CNW Telbec/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ;
Nasdaq:   AEZS), a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy
and oncology, today announced that its partner, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
(Nasdaq:   KERX), presented positive Phase 2 data on the clinical activity of
perifosine (KRX-0401), an Akt-inhibitor compound for cancer, as a treatment
for advanced metastatic colon cancer and advanced renal cell carcinoma. Data
was presented over the weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology
(ASCO) Annual Meeting, currently being held at the Orange County Convention
Center in Orlando, Florida.

    Advanced Metastatic Colon Cancer

    The poster #4081 entitled, "Randomized Phase 2 study of perifosine in
combination with capecitabine versus capecitabine alone in patients with
second- or third-line metastatic colon cancer", showed that perifosine
combined with capecitabine, more than doubled time to progression versus
capecitabine plus placebo with a statistically significant p-value (0.0006).
In addition, perifosine plus capecitabine more than doubled the Overall
Response Rate and almost doubled the Clinical Benefit Rate versus capecitabine
plus placebo.

    Advanced Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer

    The poster #5034 entitled, "Phase 2 study of perifosine in metastatic
renal cell carcinoma (RCC) progressing after prior therapy (Rx) with a VEGF
receptor", demonstrated impressive single agent efficacy of perifosine in
patients who progressed after failing treatment either with a VEGF receptor
inhibitor or after treatment with both a VEGF receptor inhibitor and an mTOR
    "We are encouraged as well as excited about the recent data presented on
perifosine by our partner Keryx at ASCO", stated Juergen Engel, Ph.D.,
President and CEO of AEterna Zentaris. "This data further shows perifosine's
potential as a novel anticancer compound both as a single agent and in
combination therapy. We now look forward to Keryx's future plan to develop
perifosine in oncology."
    Copies of the abstracts are currently available and can be viewed on-line
through the ASCO website:

    About Perifosine (KRX-0401)

    Perifosine is the first orally active Akt inhibitor in multiple Phase 2
trials in cancer. The compound 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 single agent
anti-tumor activity in Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies and is currently being
studied as a single agent and in combination with several forms of anti-cancer
treatments for various forms of cancer. Perifosine is licensed to Keryx
Biopharmaceuticals in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    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

    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, and 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 requested to
do so by a governmental authority or applicable law.

For further information:

For further information: Investor Relations: Ginette Vallières, Investor
Relations Coordinator, (418) 652-8525 ext. 265,; Media
Relations, Paul Burroughs, Director of Communications, (418) 652-8525, ext.

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