Aeterna Zentaris: Poster Presentation at AACR Meeting Provides Rationale for New Therapeutic Opportunities in Oncology with Erk Inhibitors

April 9, 2014

QUÉBEC CITY, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:
AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the “Company”) today announced that a poster on
AEZS-134, a highly potent and selective ATP competitive Erk inhibitor,
provides rationale for new therapeutic opportunities in oncology with
this compound. The poster, titled, “Erk Inhibition as a Therapeutic Option for the Treatment of Raf- and
Mek- Inhibitor Resistant Tumors
“, I. Seipelt, P. Schmidt, H. Märzhäuser, M. Gerlach, K. Jung, T.
Schuster and M. Teifel, was presented yesterday by Irene Seipelt, Ph.
D., Director, Preclinical Development at Aeterna Zentaris, during a
poster session at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual
Meeting in San Diego, California.

Richard Sachse, MD, Aeterna Zentaris’ CSO/CMO, commented, “Our abstract
on AEZS-134 drew a high level of attention at AACR, as participants of
a session on the most exciting recent developments in RAS/RAF/EGFR
research, placed it among 11 high-impact abstracts out of the hundreds
on this topic. The preclinical data presented yesterday, suggests that
Erk inhibitors such as AEZS-134 may provide a treatment option for
patients suffering from tumors which are resistant to currently
established therapies such as B-Raf and Mek inhibitors. Following these
encouraging preclinical data, we are currently evaluating further
development of this compound class.”


The MAPK pathway represents a prime target for therapeutic intervention
in cancer. Recent approvals demonstrate significant antitumor
activities and survival benefits for B-Raf and Mek inhibitors. However
the observation of resistance to such Raf and Mek inhibitors has been
documented in both clinical and preclinical trials. These phenomena led
to the suggestion to target the downstream kinase Erk to overcome such

Results and Conclusions

Data demonstrate that Erk inhibitors result in efficient growth
inhibition of tumor cells that are resistant to Raf and Mek inhibitors.
AEZS-134, a highly potent and selective ATP competitive Erk inhibitor,
overcomes the Raf inhibitor-induced paradoxical cell activation and the
acquired resistance to Mek inhibitors in various tumor cell lines.

The data provide a rationale for new therapeutic opportunities by using
Erk inhibitors in oncology. In order to maximize therapeutic benefit
for patients, targeting Erk may be more effective than targeting Raf or
Mek in a variety of MAPK resistance settings. AEZS-134 and related
compounds provide potent and selective tools to help address this

To consult a copy of the poster, please click here.

About AEZS-134

AEZS-134 is an integral part of the Company’s kinase research program
comprising the investigation of different compounds for single Erk
inhibition, single PI3K inhibition and dual Erk/PI3K kinase inhibition.
AEZS-134 selectively inhibits the kinase activity of Erk. AEZS-134 was
discovered using the Company’s proprietary compound library and high
throughput screening technology. AEZS-134 is available for partnering.

About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in
developing novel treatments in oncology and endocrinology. The
Company’s pipeline encompasses compounds at various stages of
development. For more information, visit www.aezsinc.com.

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 efficiently commercialize one or more of its
products or product candidates, 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.

SOURCE Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Source: PR Newswire

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