AEterna Zentaris Presents Proof-of-Concept for Disorazol Z Cytotoxic Conjugates, Such as AEZS-125, in Ovarian Cancer Mouse Model at ENA Symposium

QUÉBEC CITY, CANADA, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today presented encouraging preclinical results for disorazol Z cytotoxic conjugates, such as AEZS-125, in ovarian cancer. Results showed the compound's high potential for the treatment of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) receptor positive tumors. Data were presented by the Company's Director of Preclinical Development, Babette Aicher, PhD, during a poster presentation at the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR (ENA) Symposium on "Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics", currently held in Dublin, Ireland. The study is funded through a grant from the German Ministry of Education and Research.

Juergen Engel, PhD, Aeterna Zentaris President and CEO stated, "Disorazol Z cytotoxic conjugates such as AEZS-125, are an extension of our AEZS-108 innovative LHRH receptor targeted platform in oncology. These encouraging results presented at the ENA Symposium will enable us to select a specific drug candidate for further preclinical development expected to start in the first quarter of 2013."


  • All conjugates of D-Lys6 -LHRH and disorazol Z analyzed, demonstrated high potential
    regarding the treatment of LHRH-receptor positive tumors;
  • For all conjugates, including AEZS-125, proof-of-concept could be demonstrated in an
    LHRH-receptor positive A2780 ovarian cancer xenograft model;
  • Experiments are currently under way addressing:
    • Correlation of tumor LHRH-receptor expression and treatment efficacy;
    • Evaluation of additional tumor models, such as endometrium and triple-negative breast cancer;
    • Assessment of early safety parameters and orientating acute toxicity in rodent models.

The poster, "Highly Potent Cytotoxic Conjugates of Disorazol Z Linked to a LHRH-Receptor Targeting Peptide such as AEZS-125, Interfere with Cell Cycle Progression in Human Cancer Cell Lines and Suppress Tumor Growth in a LHRH-Receptor Positive Ovarian Cancer Xenograft Model", B. Aicher, T. Schuster, L. Blumenstein, P. Schmidt, H. Irschik, R. Jansen, R. Mueller, E. Guenther, M. Teifel, can be viewed through this link.

About Disorazol Z Cytotoxic Conjugates such as AEZS-125

AEZS-125 is a disorazol Z (AEZS-137) cytotoxic conjugate linked to a Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone (LHRH)-receptor targeting peptide. Disorazol Z is a novel natural compound isolated from myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum with outstanding cytotoxic activity. Disorazol Z is a macrocyclic polyketide which is available via fermentation in high yield and purity. Besides tubulin binding, disorazol Z has pro-apoptotic properties and arrested cancer cells in G2 stage of the cell cycle at subnanomolar concentrations. Disorazol Z is an ideal partner for the formation of cytotoxic conjugates with peptides and proteins to selectively target cancer cells.

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

Forward-Looking Statements

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.


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