Québec City, Canada, November 16, 2011 – Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS, TSX: AEZ), (“the Company”) today announced that it presented a poster yesterday on encouraging preclinical data for its cytotoxic compound, disorazol Z (AEZS-137). The poster showed that disorazol Z (AEZS-137) possesses outstanding cytotoxicity in a highly diverse panel of 60 different tumor cell lines, and also underlined the identification of important aspects of this novel natural compound’s mechanism of action. The poster was presented by Babette Aicher, Ph.D., Director, Preclinical Development at Aeterna Zentaris, during the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics which is being held at the Moscone Center West, in San Francisco.
Abstract C214: “Disorazol Z – A highly cytotoxic natural compound with antitumor properties”, B. Aicher, K. Hirschfelder, R. Jansen, H. Irschik, P. Schmidt, J. Engel, E. Guenther, R. Mueller, M. Teifel
Disorazol Z (AEZS-137) has been identified as a tubulin binding agent with highly potent antitumor properties. Cell cycle analysis revealed that disorazol Z (AEZS-137) arrested cells in the G2/M phase and subsequently induced apoptosis with remarkable potency, as shown by subnanomolar EC50 values.
Juergen Engel, Ph.D, President and CEO of Aeterna Zentaris stated, “We are very excited with the data presented at the conference on disorazol Z (AEZS-137), a compound which is part of our development program looking to expand the AEZS-108 technology platform. Currently, experiments are under way to identify the tubulin binding site for disorazol Z (AEZS-137). Additional ongoing studies focus on further evaluation of the mechanisms of action of this novel highly potent agent. Finally, we aim at evaluating the utility of disorazol Z (AEZS-137) as a cytotoxic component in a drug-targeting approach utilizing G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) ligands as the targeting moieties for the treatment of GPCR over-expressing cancers such as prostate cancer.”
The project is being funded by a US$1.5 million grant from the German Ministry of Education and Research. It is being conducted in collaboration with Morphisto GmbH and the Helmholtz Institute in Saarbrücken, Germany, which have received additional funding of approximately US$0.7 million. Researchers from the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at both the University of Göttingen and Würzburg, Germany, are also part of the collaboration.
About Disorazol Z (AEZS-137)
Disorazol Z (AEZS-137) is a novel natural compound isolated from myxobacterium Soranglium cellulosum with outstanding cytotoxic activity. Disorazol Z (AEZS-137) is a macrocyclic polyketide which is available via fermentation in high yield and purity. Besides tubulin binding, dizorazol Z (AEZS-137) has pro-apoptotic properties and arrested cancer cells in G2 stage of the cell cycle at subnanomolar concentrations. Disorazol Z (AEZS-137) is an ideal partner for the formation of cytotoxic conjugates with peptides and proteins to selectively target cancer cells. The proof-of-concept of LHRH-receptor targeting disorazol Z conjugates for the treatment of ovarian cancer has already been demonstrated in a xenograft mouse model.
About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.
Aeterna Zentaris is a late-stage oncology drug development company currently investigating potential treatments for various cancers including colorectal, multiple myeloma, endometrial, ovarian, prostate and bladder cancer. The Company’s innovative approach of “personalized medicine” means tailoring treatments to a patient’s specific condition and to unmet medical needs. Aeterna Zentaris’ deep pipeline is drawn from its proprietary discovery unit providing the Company with constant and long-term access to state-of-the-art therapeutic options. For more information please visit www.aezsinc.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of the U.S. 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, 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 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 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. 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.
Ginette Beaudet Vallières
Investor Relations Coordinator
(418) 652-8525 ext. 265
Director of Communications
(418) 652-8525 ext. 406
The Trout Group LLC