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AEterna Zentaris (AEZS), Sanofi-Aventis (France) (SASY.PA) End Prostate Drug Pact



12/18/2009 6:42:17 AM

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QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and endocrine therapy, today announced the termination of its agreement with sanofi-aventis U.S. (NYSE: SNY - News) dated March 5, 2009 for the development, commercialization and licensing of cetrorelix in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) for the U.S. market, following the Company's announcement last week of the results for its European Phase 3 study for cetrorelix in BPH. Termination of the agreement will be effective January 9, 2010.

Cetrorelix, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonist, had been the object of a Phase 3 program in BPH, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate which, as announced by the Company last week, did not meet its primary endpoint.

Juergen Engel, Ph.D., AEterna Zentaris President and CEO stated, "The termination of our agreement with sanofi-aventis U.S. was expected in light of last week's announcement. Our clinical development efforts will now be focused on the following late-stage compounds: in oncology, Keryx, our partner and licensee in North America, has just initiated a Phase 3 trial in multiple myeloma with perifosine, our oral PI3K/Akt inhibitor compound. We are also currently evaluating further development plans for AEZS-108, our targeted doxorubicin conjugate, after recent positive Phase 2 results in ovarian and endometrial cancer. In endocrinology, we are in the process of reactivating a Phase 3 trial with our oral ghrelin agonist, AEZS-130, as a diagnostic test for adult growth hormone deficiency."

About AEterna Zentaris Inc.

AEterna Zentaris Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and endocrine therapy, with proven expertise in drug discovery, development and commercialization. News releases and additional information are available at www.aezsinc.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. 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. 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 required by a governmental authority or applicable law.

For further information

Investor Relations: Dennis Turpin, SVP and CFO, (418) 652-8525 ext. 242, dturpin@aezsinc.com Media Relations: Paul Burroughs, Director of Communications, (418) 652-8525 ext. 406, pburroughs@aezsinc.com


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