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Ergomed notes announcement by co-development partner, Aeterna Zentaris, of results from Phase 3 clinical trial with Zoptrex™ in advanced endometrial cancer

London, UK – 02 May 2017: Ergomed plc (LSE: ERGO) (‘Ergomed’ or ‘the Company’), a company dedicated to the provision of specialised services to the pharmaceutical industry and the development of new drugs, notes that its co-development partner Aeterna Zentaris has announced that its Pivotal Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Zoptrex™ in women with advanced, […]

London, UK – 02 May 2017: Ergomed plc (LSE: ERGO) (‘Ergomed’ or ‘the Company’), a company dedicated to the provision of specialised services to the pharmaceutical industry and the development of new drugs, notes that its co-development partner Aeterna Zentaris has announced that its Pivotal Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Zoptrex™ in women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of demonstrating a statistically significant increase in the median period of overall survival of patients treated with Zoptrex™ as compared to patients treated with doxorubicin. The trial’s secondary endpoints were also not met. The press release from Aeterna Zentaris is reproduced in full below.

Ergomed has been conducting the clinical trial in more than 100 study sites globally generating service revenues. As co-development partner, Ergomed contributed to the costs of the trial in return for a share in the revenues generated from the product’s commmercialisation. Despite the failed trial, the Company already received a portion of upfront payments from several license agreements entered into by Aeterna Zentaris in the important markets of China, Israel, Taiwan and Southeast Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Miroslav Reljanovic, Chief Executive Officer of Ergomed, said:

“While it is obviously disappointing that this Zoptrex trial was not successful – especially for our partner Aeterna Zentaris- it does highlight the resilience of our hybrid business model. Success for Ergomed does not hinge on just one asset, but rather the overall potential of a diversified development pipeline, underpinned by reliable earnings from a strong Services business that continues to significantly outperform the market, enjoying excellent growth. Indeed, in contrast to this trial outcome with Zoptrex, we recently reported excellent news from our insomnia programme.”

The full text of the announcement from Aeterna Zentaris is as follows:

 “Aeterna Zentaris Announces that ZoptEC Phase 3 Clinical Study of Zoptrex™ Did Not Achieve its Primary Endpoint

Company Expects to Submit Macrilen™ NDA in Third Quarter of 2017

 CHARLESTON, S.C., May 1, 2017 – Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZS) (the “Company”) today announced that the ZoptEC Phase 3 clinical study of Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) in women with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer did not achieve its primary endpoint of demonstrating a statistically significant increase in the median period of overall survival of patients treated with Zoptrex™ as compared to patients treated with doxorubicin. 

Dr. Richard Sachse, the Company’s Chief Scientific Officer, stated, “The median overall survival period for patients treated with Zoptrex™ was 10.9 months compared to 10.8 months for patients treated with doxorubicin.  This is not a statistically significant, clinically meaningful increase in overall survival and thus the ZoptEC Phase 3 clinical study did not meet its primary endpoint.  In addition, Zoptrex™ generally performed no better than the comparator drug with respect to the secondary efficacy endpoints.  For example, the median period of progression-free survival of the patients in the Zoptrex™ arm of the study was identical to that for patients in the doxorubicin arm.  Finally, there was no meaningful difference between the two arms with respect to safety; the number of patients with cardiac disorders was similar – eight in the Zoptrex™ arm and nine in the doxorubicin arm.  Therefore, the results of the study are not supportive to pursue regulatory approval.”

David A. Dodd, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, stated, “We are very disappointed with the outcome of the ZoptEC Phase 3 clinical study.  Based on this outcome, we do not anticipate conducting clinical trials of Zoptrex™ with respect to any other indications.  I would like to thank my colleagues within Aeterna Zentaris and our external team of clinical investigators for their dedication to and contributions on this project.”  Commenting on the Company’s plans, Mr. Dodd continued, “Our focus has now shifted entirely to filing our new drug application for Macrilen™ and, if the product is approved, to its commercial launch as soon as possible.  We will also optimize our resources to be consistent with our focus on Macrilen™-related efforts.  We continue to believe in the potential that Macrilen™ provides for us to become a focused specialty pharmaceutical company.  Our intention is to submit the Macrilen™ NDA in the third quarter of 2017 and, if the product receives FDA approval, to commercially launch the product in the first quarter of 2018.”

Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call to discuss the results of the ZoptEC Phase 3 clinical study of Zoptrex ™ on Monday, May 1, 2017, at 8:30 AM, Eastern Time.  Participants may access the conference call by using the following number:  201-689-8029, Confirmation 13660857.

About the ZoptEC Pivotal Phase 3 Trial

The ZoptEC pivotal Phase 3 trial was a fully-recruited (512 patients), open-label, randomized-controlled study, comparing the efficacy and safety of zoptarelin doxorubicin, a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well-known chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin, to doxorubicin alone. Patients were centrally randomized in a 1:1 ratio and received either Zoptrex™ (267 mg/m2) or doxorubicin (60 mg/m2) intravenously, every three weeks and for up to nine cycles.  Response was evaluated every three cycles during treatment, and thereafter, every 12 weeks until progression.  All patients were followed for survival as the primary efficacy endpoint (“EP”).  Secondary EPs include progression-free survival, objective response-rate, and clinical benefit rate.  The trial was conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).  For more information on this trial, please consult (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01767155; EudraCT No: 2012-005546-38; ZoptEC: Zoptarelin doxorubicin in endometrial cancer).

About Aeterna Zentaris

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-U.S. 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 www.aezsinc.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflect our current expectations regarding future events.  Forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements preceded by, followed by, or that include the words “expects,” “believes,” “intends,” “anticipates,” and similar terms that relate to future events, performance, or our results.  Forward-looking statements involve known risks and uncertainties, many of which are discussed under the caption “Key Information – Risk Factors” in our most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the relevant Canadian securities regulatory authorities in lieu of an annual information form and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).  Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the progress of our research, development and clinical trials and the timing of, and prospects for, regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates, the timing of expected results of our studies, anticipated results of these studies, statements about the status of our efforts to establish a commercial operation and to obtain the right to promote or sell products that we did not develop and estimates regarding our capital requirements and our needs for, and our ability to obtain, additional financing.  Known and unknown risks and uncertainties could cause our actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements.  Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue our research and development 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 rejection or non-acceptance of any new drug application by one or more regulatory authorities and, more generally, uncertainties related to the regulatory process, the ability of the Company to efficiently commercialize one or more of its products or product candidates, the degree of market acceptance once our products are approved for commercialization, our ability to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, our ability to protect our intellectual property, and 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 securities commissions and the SEC for additional information on risks and uncertainties.  Given these uncertainties and risk factors, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.  We disclaim any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce 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 applicable law.”


Ergomed plc Tel: +44 (0) 1483 503205
Miroslav Reljanovic (Chief  Executive Officer)  
Stephen Stamp (Chief Financial Officer)  
Numis Securities Limited Tel: +44 (0) 20 7260 1000
Michael Meade / Freddie Barnfield (Nominated Adviser)  
James Black (Joint Broker)  
Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited Tel: +44 (0) 20 7710 7600
Jonathan Senior / Ben Maddison (Joint Broker)  
FTI Consulting – for UK enquiries Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Simon Conway / Mo Noonan / Natalie Garland-Collins  
MC-Services – for Continental European enquiries Tel: +49 211 52925222
Anne Hennecke  

About Ergomed

Ergomed plc is a profitable UK-based business providing drug development services to the pharmaceutical industry and has a growing portfolio of co-development partnerships. It operates in over 50 countries.

Ergomed provides clinical development, trial management and pharmacovigilance services to over 100 clients ranging from top 10 pharmaceutical companies to small and mid-sized drug development companies. Ergomed successfully manages clinical development from Phase I through to late phase programmes.

Ergomed has a wide therapeutic focus, with a particular expertise in oncology, neurology and immunology and the development of orphan drugs. Ergomed believes its approach to clinical trials is differentiated from that of other providers by its innovative Study Site Management model and the use of Study Physician Teams, resulting in a close relationship between Ergomed and the physicians involved in clinical trials.

As well as providing high quality clinical development services, Ergomed is building a portfolio of co-development partnerships with pharma and biotech companies which share the risks and rewards of drug development. Ergomed leverages its expertise and services in return for carried interest in the drugs under development. Lastly, Ergomed recently acquired a pipeline of proprietary development products for haemostasis in surgical settings. For further information, visit: https://ergomedgroup.com.

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