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AEterna Zentaris Presents Data Supporting Evaluation of AEZS-108 in Prostate Cancer at ASCO Meeting

QUEBEC CITY, June 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ; Nasdaq: AEZS), a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, today announced that it presented results supporting the evaluation of its targeted cytotoxic peptide conjugate compound, AEZS-108 (formerly AN-152), in prostate cancer. The presentation was made during yesterday's poster session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, being held through June 2, 2009 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The poster (#5163) entitled, "Expression of LHRH receptors in prostate cancer cells prior to therapy, following castration, or following treatment with LHRH agonists," S. Liu, A. V. Schally, S. Xiong, R. Cote, D. Hawes, L. Fazli, M. Gleave, J. Cai, F. Brands, J. Engel, J. Pinski, investigates the expression of Luteinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone (LHRH) receptors following prolonged exposure to LHRH agonists.

"Results presented are important for the expansion of potential indications for our anti-cancer compound, AEZS-108", stated Juergen Engel, Ph.D., President and CEO of AEterna Zentaris. "While clinical investigations so far focused on gynaecological indications, the new results show continued expression of LHRH receptors in prostate cancer specimens after prolonged use of LHRH agonists; these data provide further support to the investigation of AEZS-108 in hormone-refractory prostate cancer, a major genitourinary cancer indication in male patients."


LHRH receptor expression was demonstrated in more than 95% of 130 prostate cancer specimens analyzed, irrespective of origin (primary tumor, metastases) or patients' prior hormonal treatment (none, castration, LHRH agonist). In all groups, the majority of specimens showed moderate to strong receptor expression. Statistically, strong receptor expression correlated with higher pathologic tumor stage and shorter overall survival.


    - In virtually all patients with prostate cancer, tumor cells appear to
      express LHRH receptors;
    - Even tumors persisting or relapsing after castration or prolonged
      hormonal treatment with LHRH agonists retain the expression of LHRH
    - The continued expression of these receptors supports the concept of
      targeting prostatic LHRH receptors to deliver cytotoxic therapy based
      on LHRH analogs, such as AEZS-108.

A copy of the abstract is currently available and can be viewed on-line through the ASCO website:

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.

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