Aeterna Zentaris: Presentations on Perifosine Scheduled at Upcoming ASH Meeting in San Diego, California

QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced the following presentations on perifosine, its novel, oral anticancer Akt inhibitor, at the upcoming American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which will be held December 10 -13, 2011, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California:

Abstract #815:  "Perifosine Plus Bortezomib and Dexamethasone in Relapsed/ Refractory Multiple Myeloma Patients Previously Treated with Bortezomib & nbsp; Final Results of a Phase 1/2 Trial"
  P.G. Richardson, J.L. Wolf, A.J. Jakubowiak, J.A. Zonder, S. Lonial, D. Irwin, J. Densmore, A. Krishnan, N.S. Raje, M.H. Bar, R. Schlossman, I.M. Ghobrial, N.C. Munshi, T. Martin, J.P. Laubach, J.P Allerton, T. Hideshima, P. Sportelli, L. Gardner, and K.C. Anderson
  (oral presentation)
Presenter:  Paul Richardson, MD, Clinical Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.
Session 653:  Myeloma - Therapy, Excluding Transplantation: Novel Drugs in Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma Patients
Date and time:  Monday, December 12, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Venue:  Ballroom 20D, San Diego Convention Center
Abstract #1653:  "Preclinical Rationale for the Use of Combined Treatment with the Akt Inhibitor Perifosine and the Multikinase Inhibitor Sorafenib in Hodgkin Lymphoma",  Locatelli S.L., Giacomini A., Guidetti A., Cleris L., Magni M., Di Nicola M., Mortarini R., Gianni A.M., Anichini A., Carlo-Stella C.
Presenter:   Silvia Locatelli, PhD, Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy
Session 625:   Lymphoma - Pre-Clinical - Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents: Poster I
Date and time:  Saturday, December 10, 2011, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Venue:  Hall GH, San Diego Convention Center
Abstract #3705:  "Phosphorylation Levels of Extracellular-Signal Regulated Kinase (Erk) and Akt in Circulating Lymphocytes Predict Response to Targeted Therapy with Kinase Inhibitors in Refractory/Relapsed Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients", A. Guidetti, S. Locatelli, S. Viviani, A. Dodero, L. Farina, D. Russo, P. Bulian, R. Sorasio, M. Di Nicola, P. Corradini, A. Anichini, A. M. Gianni, C. Carmello-Stella
Presenter:   Anna Guidetti, MD, Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy 
Session 624:  Lymphoma - Therapy with Biologic Agents, excluding Pre-Clinical Models: Poster III
Date and time: Monday, December 12, 2011, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. (Pacific)
Venue:  Hall GH, San Diego Convention Center

A copy of the above referenced abstracts can be viewed online through the ASH meeting website,

About Perifosine

Perifosine is a novel, oral anticancer treatment that inhibits Akt activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. The product works by interfering with membranes of cancer cells thereby inhibiting Akt signaling which then affects cell death, growth, differentiation and survival. Perifosine, in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, is currently being studied for the treatment of colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma and other cancers, and is the most advanced anticancer agent of its class. Perifosine, as monotherapy, is being explored in other indications. The FDA has granted perifosine orphan-drug designation in multiple myeloma and neuroblastoma, and Fast Track designations in both multiple myeloma and refractory advanced colorectal cancer. Additionally, an agreement was reached with the FDA to conduct the Phase 3 trials in both of these indications under a Special Protocol Assessment. Perifosine has also been granted orphan medicinal product designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in multiple myeloma. Furthermore, perifosine has received positive Scientific Advice from the EMA for both the multiple myeloma and advanced colorectal cancer programs, with ongoing Phase 3 trials for these indications expected to be sufficient for registration in Europe. Perifosine rights have been licensed to Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) for North America, to Yakult Honsha for Japan, to Handok for Korea and to Hikma Pharmaceuticals for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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

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.