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AEterna Laboratories: Research Results Confirm Additional Mechanism of Action of its Lead Compound, Neovastat/AE-941 (PR Newswire)AEterna Laboratories Inc., today announced new results showing that its lead product, Neovastat/AE-941, specifically activates apoptosis of endothelial cells. Previous research had also shown that Neovastat has two other mechanisms of action inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, all aimed at stopping a cancerous tumor`s growth, by blocking the formation of new blood vessels.- Mar 27 7:31 AM ET


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Posted on: 03/27/2001

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Tuesday March 27, 7:31 am Eastern Time

Press Release

SOURCE: AEterna Laboratories Inc.

AEterna Laboratories: Research Results Confirm Additional Mechanism of Action of its Lead Compound, Neovastat/AE-941

NEW ORLEANS, March 27 /PRNewswire/ - AEterna Laboratories Inc., (TSE: AEL, NASDAQ: AELA) today announced new results showing that its lead product, Neovastat/AE-941, specifically activates apoptosis (programmed cell death) of endothelial cells. Previous research had also shown that Neovastat has two other mechanisms of action inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs 2, 9, 12) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF-R2), all aimed at stopping a cancerous tumor's growth, by blocking the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Neovastat is presently used in pivotal Phase III clinical studies for lung and kidney cancer, as well as in a pivotal Phase II for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Results from these new studies were presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) by Professor Richard Beliveau, from Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Canada.

"Apoptosis is a very complex process that inevitably leads to cell death," said Dr. Richard Beliveau. "The induction of apoptosis by Neovastat is specific to endothelial cells and was correlated with a marked increase in caspase-3 and -8 activities. These activities are crucial for apoptosis since an inhibitor of these enzymes completely reverses the activity of Neovastat on apoptosis," concluded Dr. Beliveau.

"The elucidation of this new mechanism of action supports the presence of different biologically active molecules in Neovastat and reinforces its position as a unique multifunctional antiangiogenesis product in late stage clinical research," added Dr. Pierre Falardeau, Vice President, Scientific Affairs at AEterna.

  • ADDITIONAL RESULTS ON NEOVASTAT'S MULTIPLE MECHANISMS OF ACTION PRESENTED
  • AT AACR
  • Dr. William D. Figg of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda,

Maryland, presented research results indicating that Neovastat also blocks
VEGF-induced microvessel sprouting, thus supporting previous data showing that
Neovastat is able to block VEGF signaling pathway. A third presentation made
by Professor Francois Berger of the French Institute of Health and Medical
Research (INSERM) in Grenoble, France, showed that Neovastat is able to
increase survival of mice with human glioblastoma xenograft (brain cancer).

ABOUT AACR

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), a scientific society of over 15,000 laboratory and clinical cancer researchers, was founded in 1907 to facilitate communication and dissemination of knowledge among scientists and others dedicated to the cancer problem; to foster research in cancer and related biomedical sciences; to encourage presentation and discussion of new and important observations in the field; to foster public education, science education, and training; and to advance the understanding of cancer etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment throughout the world. The 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research is presently being held in New Orleans, Louisiana, until March 28.

ABOUT AETERNA AND NEOVASTAT/AE-941

AEterna Laboratories Inc. is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company and a frontrunner in the field of antiangiogenesis to treat a variety of conditions. Its lead compound, Neovastat, is an angiogenesis inhibitor being investigated in three major therapeutic areas: oncology, dermatology and ophthalmology.

Neovastat is currently used in two Phase III pivotal clinical trials for the treatment of lung and kidney cancer as well as in a Phase II pivotal trial for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

AEterna is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AEL and on Nasdaq under the symbol AELA. AEterna's news releases and additional information are available on its Web site at www.aeterna.com.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which 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 ability of the Company to take advantage of the business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company's ongoing quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the 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.

SOURCE: AEterna Laboratories Inc.

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