Aeterna Zentaris Grants Option to Develop and Commercialize Oral Allogenic Cancer Vaccine Technology

Jul 28, 2015, 07:30 ET from Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

QUEBEC CITY, July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced that it has granted to German life sciences entrepreneurs with a proven track-record of funding the development and commercialization of biotechnology (collectively, the "Optionee"), an option to license the Company's live recombinant oral allogenic tumor vaccine technology (the "Technology"), including AEZS-120, the most advanced product candidate for prostate cancer which is ready to enter a Phase 1 clinical trial. This option is granted to the Optionee worldwide, for a period of twelve months, in exchange for an upfront fee.

Pursuant to the option agreement, the Optionee has the right to obtain a worldwide exclusive license to develop, use and sell products relating to the Technology and AEZS-120, in exchange for milestone payments and royalties on net sales of any product developed from the Technology and an equity interest in the company formed to develop the Technology. At the present time, Aeterna Zentaris holds worldwide rights to the Technology, including AEZS-120.

David A. Dodd, Chairman and CEO of Aeterna Zentaris, commented, "This agreement is part of our strategy of leveraging some of our promising early-stage drug candidates in order to generate potential long-term value without having to invest in their development. Our live recombinant oral allogenic cancer vaccine is a novel approach to treating cancer and could prove to be a beneficial option for the millions of people suffering from different types of cancer."

About AEZS-120

AEZS-120 is a live recombinant oral allogenic cancer vaccine candidate based on Salmonella typhi Ty21a as a carrier strain. Salmonella typhi Ty21a is an approved oral typhoid vaccine which has been safely applied in more than 250 million doses. The principle of AEZS-120 is based on the recombinant expression of prostate specific antigen fused to the B subunit of cholera toxin and a secretion signal in the presence of the Escherichia coli type I hemolysin secretion system. The proprietary system allows the secretion of the antigen, together with an immunological adjuvant which has been demonstrated to be required for optimal induction of CD8 T-cell responses by recombinant Salmonella based bacterial vaccines. The proof-of-concept was demonstrated for the mouse homologue of AEZS-120 in a mouse tumor-challenge model. In general, by varying the antigen and/or the carrier, this proprietary platform technology should be suitable for virtually any therapeutic or prophylactic vaccine indication with a favorable cost of goods expectation in large scale.

About Aeterna Zentaris

Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology and women's health. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the US 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 and clinical trials, 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, the ability to protect our intellectual property, the potential of liability arising from shareholder lawsuits and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company's quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and US securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance 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.