Lumiphore Inc. and Echelon Biosciences Inc. Introduce Novel Cancer Assays


    REDWOOD CITY, CA and SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, April 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
 - Lumiphore Inc. and Echelon Biosciences Inc. jointly announce the
 finalization of a license agreement that provides Echelon access to
 Lumiphore's proprietary lanthanide-complex technology for the development of
 TR-FRET assays and reagents for use in research and drug discovery in the
 field of phospholipid signaling and lipid-protein interactions.
     Echelon has branded its family of assays and reagents that incorporate
 the proprietary Lumiphore lanthanide-complex technology as TRue-FRET(TM).
 Echelon has incorporated TRue-FRET dyes, which utilize Lumiphore's highly
 luminescent terbium (Tb3+) complexes, into its proprietary PI3-K screening
 reagents and assay platforms. This TR-FRET PI3-K assay is the most advanced
 yet offered for research and drug discovery. It is an easy-to-use mix and read
 (homogenous) format, provides a much brighter fluorescent endpoint, and
 eliminates many of the false positives seen with other formats. Phospholipid
 signaling and related lipid-protein interactions have become interesting
 targets for new drug development in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and
     "This agreement with Echelon gives us an entry into the molecular biology
 research and pharmaceutical screening markets with a world recognized leader.
 We believe Echelon is the best in their space," said Scott King, President of
     "This agreement brings the best of both Lumiphore's and Echelon's
 proprietary technologies to an exciting growth segment in human cellular
 disease research," said W. Tim Miller, President of Echelon Biosciences. "In
 particular, this will offer pharmaceutical companies a new easy-to-use format
 for screening large libraries of compounds in a more accurate fashion. We are
 excited about the potential for this new research tool for our customers and
 for both Echelon and Lumiphore."
     About Echelon's True-FRET(TM) PI3-kinase Assay
     Time Resolved - Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (TR-FRET) -
 Historically, high throughput screening (HTS), a method for screening
 thousands of compounds for those with desirable therapeutic activity, has been
 approached through radioactive formats. In recent years, due to cost, handling
 and disposal complexities, the HTS market has trended away from radioactive
 methods to more easy-to-use fluorescent assays. However, as many compounds and
 biological samples can naturally fluoresce themselves, often a high number of
 false positives are seen. To combat this fluorescence interference, rare-earth
 compounds such as terbium which display a long-lived fluorescence compared to
 naturally fluorescent compounds have been incorporated into fluorescent
 assays. This time resolved (TR) format increases the accuracy of these HTS
 screening methodologies.
     PI3-K or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is a cellular enzyme which
 phosphorylates certain lipids within the cell which in turn mediate cell
 proliferation and survival. The activity of PI3-K is often altered in disease
 leading to abnormal cell growth in cancer and incorrect cellular response in
 inflammation. Despite their importance, the potential of these enzymes as
 targets for therapeutic development has yet to be fully realized, in part due
 to the lack of assay methods suitable for HTS. Echelon's True-FRET assay
 provides an advanced research tool to scientists investigating PI3-K as a
 therapeutic target for drug development.
     Echelon will be introducing this new True-FRET PI3-kinase assay at the
 97th annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Washington DC,
 April 2-5, 2006.
     About Echelon
     Echelon Biosciences Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a wholly owned
 subsidiary of AEterna Zentaris (Nasdaq:   AEZS) of Quebec City, Quebec. Echelon
 Biosciences Inc. is a leader in the field of lipid research and lipid-protein
 interactions that are essential top-level regulators in numerous cell
 signaling cascades. Abnormal signaling cascades lead to many diseases like
 cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Echelon has been a
 top supplier of research information, lipid signaling assay and reagent
 technology for years. It also has an early-stage program in anti-infective
 development, targeting a novel pathway found in many problematic gram-negative
 bacteria. AEterna Zentaris Inc. is a growing global biopharmaceutical company
 engaged in the discovery, development and marketing of therapies for cancer,
 endocrine disorders, and infectious diseases.
     About Lumiphore
     Lumiphore, Inc. of Redwood City, California, is a private nanotechnology
 company and a leader in time resolved luminescence. Lumiphore has an exclusive
 license to specific lanthanide-complex technology from the University of
 California, Berkeley. Lumiphore's lanthanide reporters can be used for
 increased sensitivity in assays for biological activity including certain
 clinical tests. Luminescence of Lumiphore's terbium lanthanide complex
 outlasts luminescence of other molecules so that gated detection results in
 vastly improved signal-to-noise.