Aeterna Zentaris Announces Zoptrex Presentation in Prostate Cancer at 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

CHARLESTON, S.C.--()--Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS)(TSX: AEZ) (the “Company”) today announced that a poster entitled, “A phase II trial of zoptarelin doxorubicin in castration-and taxane-resistant prostate cancer”, will be presented during the 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium’s “Translating Research to Value-based and Patient-centric Care” by lead investigator, and co-author of the presentation, Jacek Pinski, MD, PhD, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 11:30am-1:00pm ET and 5:15pm-6:15pm ET. The event is a co-sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology – ASCO; Society of Urologic Oncology – SUO; and Targeting Cancer Care – ASTRO. The address for the sessions is Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, 9939 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819.


On December 14, 2010, the Company announced the initiation of the Phase 1/2 trial.

On February 3, 2012, updated results for the Phase 1 portion of the study were reported. The results were based on 13 patients who had been previously treated with androgen-deprivation therapy (LHRH agonist) and at least one taxane-based chemotherapy regimen, who were treated on three dose levels of Zoptrex™: three at 160 mg/m2, three at 210 mg/m2, and seven at 267 mg/m2. Overall, Zoptrex™ was well tolerated among this group of heavily pretreated older patients. There were two dose-limiting toxicities, each of which having been a case of asymptomatic Grade 4 neutropenia at the 267 mg/m2 dose level and both patients fully recovered. The Grade 3 and 4 toxicities were primarily hematologic. There was minimal non- hematologic toxicity, most frequently fatigue and alopecia. Despite the low doses of Zoptrex™ in the first cohorts, there was indication of antitumor activity. One patient received eight cycles (at 210 mg/m2) due to continued benefit. Among the five evaluable patients with measurable disease, four achieved stable disease. At the time of submission of the abstract, a decrease in prostate specific antigen (“PSA”) was noted in six patients. Six of 13 (46%) treated patients received at least five cycles of therapy with no evidence of disease progression at twelve weeks.

On November 12, 2012, we announced the initiation of the Phase 2 portion of Dr. Pinski’s Phase 1/2 study of Zoptrex™ in prostate cancer. This was a single-arm Simon Optimum Design Phase 2 study of Zoptrex™ in 25 patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Patients received Zoptrex™ (210 mg/m2) intravenously over two hours, every three weeks. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit (“CB”), defined as remaining progression-free by RECIST and PSA after treatment for 12+ weeks. Secondary endpoints were progression free survival (PFS), best overall response, toxicity, pain and overall survival (OS).

On June 3, 2013, we announced that final data for the Phase 1 portion of Dr. Pinski’s Phase 1/2 trial with Zoptrex™ in prostate cancer demonstrated the compound's promising anti-tumor activity. Results were presented by Dr. Pinski during a poster session at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. The results of the study were published in an article by Liu et al in the journal Clinical Cancer Research (Clin. Cancer Res. (2014) 20:6277). Eighteen men were treated at three dose levels: (160 mg/m2; (ii) 210 mg/m2; and (iii) 267 mg/m2). Overall Zoptrex™ was well tolerated among this group of heavily pretreated patients. There were two dose-limiting toxicities (grade four neutropenia and grade three febrile neutropenia), prompting de- escalation to 210 mg/m2 and establishing it as the Maximum Tolerated Dose. Among the 15 evaluable patients with measurable disease, ten achieved stable disease (SD), and a drop in PSA was noted in three patients.

On September 28, 2015, Dr. Pinski announced during a poster session at the 18th ECCO - 40th ESMO European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria, that among the 25 patients in the Phase 2 portion of the trial, 11 patients experienced CB as the primary endpoint and 13 patients achieved SD. Maximal PSA response was stable in 20 patients. Pain assessment improved for 11 patients. Zoptrex™ was well tolerated in this heavily pretreated patient population with hematological toxicities, usually limited to grade three, as the most common adverse events. Dr. Pinski concluded that Zoptrex™ was well tolerated and met the primary efficacy endpoint in castration- and taxane-resistant prostate cancer patients.

About Zoptarelin Doxorubicin

Zoptarelin doxorubicin represents a new targeting concept in oncology using a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well-known chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin. Zoptarelin doxorubicin is the first intravenous drug in advanced clinical development that directs the chemotherapy agent specifically to LHRH-receptor expressing tumors, resulting in a more targeted treatment with less damage to healthy tissue. The Company recently concluded a Phase 3 trial in women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer called ZoptEC (Zoptarelin doxorubicin in Endometrial Cancer). Aeterna Zentaris owns the worldwide rights to this compound.

Additional Indications

The Company believes that Zoptrex™ may be useful in treating other cancers, including breast cancer, bladder cancer and prostate cancer. We terminated early clinical trials of the compound as a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer and bladder cancer as part of our ongoing review of our development activities to ensure the most effective use of our resources.

The Company assisted Dr. Jacek Pinski, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Southern California, to conduct a Phase 1/2 study in refractory prostate cancer with Zoptrex™. Dr. Pinski received a $1.6 million grant from The National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) to conduct the study. The study, entitled “A Phase I/II Trial of AN-152 [AEZS-108] in Castration-and Taxane-Resistant Prostate Cancer,” was conducted in two portions: an abbreviated dose-escalation study followed by a single arm, Simon Optimum two-stage design Phase 2 study, using the dose selected in the Phase 1 portion.

About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology and women’s health. We are engaged in drug development activities and in the promotion of products for others. We recently completed Phase 3 studies of two internally developed compounds. The focus of our business development efforts is the acquisition of licenses to products that are relevant to our therapeutic areas of focus. We also intend to license out certain commercial rights of internally developed products to licensees in non-US territories where such out-licensing would enable us to ensure development, registration and launch of our product candidates. Our goal is to become a growth-oriented specialty biopharmaceutical company by pursuing successful development and commercialization of our product portfolio, achieving successful commercial presence and growth, while consistently delivering value to our shareholders, employees and the medical providers and patients who will benefit from our products. For more information, visit


Aeterna Zentaris Inc.
Philip A. Theodore, Senior Vice President, 843-900-3223

Release Summary

Aeterna Zentaris Announces Zoptrex™ in Prostate Cancer at 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium


Aeterna Zentaris Inc.
Philip A. Theodore, Senior Vice President, 843-900-3223