QUÉBEC CITY, March 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced that it has agreed to transfer its discovery library of roughly 100,000 unique compounds to the South Carolina Center for Therapeutic Discovery & Development (the Center) pursuant to a just concluded Material Transfer Agreement. This Agreement represents the beginning of a long-term relationship between the Company and the Center, which is part of The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), that will result in the continued use of the library for the discovery of drug development candidates for the Company in the areas of oncology, neurology, endocrinology and women's health. The Center may make the library available to all investigators in the University of South Carolina system without restriction on its use and will own any therapeutic compounds discovered outside the Company's areas of therapeutic interest.
The Center has agreed to conduct screening and pre-clinical activities with respect to the library with a view toward submitting to the Company at least one development candidate in its areas of therapeutic interest per year during a ten-year period beginning in 2018. The Company will receive the right of first refusal to license the development candidates.
Should the Company decide to further develop a development candidate submitted by the Center, MUSC will license the compound candidate to the Company, and be entitled to a royalty on the net sales of all commercialized products developed from the development candidate.
However, should the Company decide not to further develop the development candidate submitted by the Center, MUSC shall pay to the Company a royalty on net sales of all commercialized products developed from the development candidate.
David Dodd, Chairman and CEO at Aeterna Zentaris stated, "This agreement with MUSC is another concrete step in our strategy of streamlining our internal drug discovery programs in order to focus our resources on our late-stage clinical programs, as well as on our commercial activities. This agreement will therefore make it possible to continue drug discovery activities without the costs and risks that they imply. More importantly, it is in line with our overall strategy of transitioning into a commercially operating specialty biopharmaceutical company. We look forward to working with the Center and MUSC, with which we have already established a close collaboration for our ZoptEC Phase 3 trial in endometrial cancer."
Karen Lackey, Director of the MUSC Center for Drug Discovery, added, "The ongoing research at MUSC is outstanding in basic, translational, and clinical sciences, focused on understanding disease processes. The transfer of this high quality collection of drug-like compounds will significantly increase our opportunities to find new medicines through sophisticated screening mechanisms. The Center's mission is to discover and develop effective medicines in diseases that currently lack viable treatment options."
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 www.aezsinc.com.
About The South Carolina Center for Therapeutic Discovery and Development (the Center)
The South Carolina Center for Therapeutic Discovery and Development (the Center) at The Medical University of South Carolina facilitates partnership models between academic research and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries to accelerate the translation of scientific findings into products that impact health care. The Center represents the only organization of its type in the state of South Carolina, and thus is well positioned to provide a complete framework for drug discovery and development for researchers at MUSC, USC and Clemson, and for biotechnology-based companies in the region. For more information, visit http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/cdd
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, 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 potential of liability arising from shareholder lawsuits, the specific outcome of our recently announced global resources optimization program and the financial impact on the Company resulting therefrom, 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.