Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZS) (“Aeterna” or the “Company”), a specialty biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing a diversified portfolio of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products, today provided an update for its ongoing pivotal Phase 3 safety and efficacy study AEZS-130-P02 (the “DETECT-trial") evaluating macimorelin for the diagnosis of childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency (CGHD).

The DETECT-trial is a multicenter, open-label trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of a single oral dose of 1.0 mg/kg macimorelin acetate as growth hormone stimulation test (“GHST”) in pediatric patients with suspected growth hormone deficiency (“GHD”).

The first clinical sites in the U.S. and in Europe are open for patient recruitment. In Europe, national clinical trial approval procedures and site initiation activities are ongoing. Children and adolescents from two to less than 18 years of age with suspected growth hormone deficiency are to be included. The study is expected to include approximately 100 subjects in Europe and North America, with at least 40 subjects in pre-pubertal and 40 subjects in pubertal status. The macimorelin GHST will be performed twice for repeatability data and two standard GHSTs will be used as controls: arginine (i.v.) and clonidine (p.o.). 

Site activation and patient enrollment continues to be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, clinical trial sites originally planned in the Ukraine and Russia are being halted due to the conflict in Ukraine intensifying following the Russian invasion. As a result, further delays with enrollment are expected as the DETECT-trial planned to recruit at least 25% (25 subjects) within those countries. Due to those circumstances, and after reviewing the resulting feasibility data from the Company’s CRO on potential mitigation options, Aeterna believes recruitment for the DETECT-trial may now continue until later into 2023. Aeterna and its development partner, Novo Nordisk, are actively assessing the full impact of the current situation on timelines and study cost.

“Our thoughts are with the patients, clinicians and all of the people of Ukraine during this difficult time. Our team is working to advance the DETECT-trial towards completion as quickly and efficiently as possible. Although our expected timeline is extended as a result of the delay caused by the pandemic and geopolitical events, we are working diligently in collaboration with our partner to consider alternate sites outside of the Ukraine and Russia to mitigate the potential impact of those events on estimated trial completion dates,” commented, Dr. Klaus Paulini, Chief Executive Officer of Aeterna. For more information about the DETECT-trial, please visit EU Clinical Trials Register and reference EudraCT #2018-001988-23 and clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT04786873.

About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing a diversified portfolio of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products focused on areas of significant unmet medical need. The Company's lead product, macimorelin (Macrilen™), is the first and only U.S. FDA and European Commission approved oral test indicated for the diagnosis of adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). The Company is leveraging the clinical success and compelling safety profile of macimorelin to develop it for the diagnosis of childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency (CGHD), an area of significant unmet need, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk.

Aeterna Zentaris is dedicated to the development of therapeutic assets and has recently taken steps to establish a growing pre-clinical pipeline to potentially address unmet medical needs across a number of indications, including neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), Parkinson's disease (PD), hypoparathyroidism and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig's disease). Additionally, the Company is developing an oral prophylactic bacterial vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and Chlamydia trachomatis.

For more information, please visit www.zentaris.com and connect with the Company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. and Canadian securities legislation and regulations and such statements are made pursuant to the safe-harbor provision of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “potential,” “possible,” and similar expressions. Such statements, based as they are on current expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks, uncertainties and assumptions, known and unknown, many of which are beyond our control. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, those relating to: Aeterna’s expectations with respect to the DETECT-trial (including regarding the enrollment of subjects in the DETECT-trial, and the time to complete enrollment in the DETECT-trial).

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements stated herein to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, our reliance on the success of the pediatric clinical trial in the European Union and U.S. for Macrilen™ (macimorelin); the commencement of the DETECT-trial may be delayed due to prolonged impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to replace clinical trial sites originally planned for the Ukraine and Russia but which are no longer feasible due to the invasion of the Ukraine,; we may be unable to enroll the expected number of subjects in the DETECT-trial and the result of the DETECT-trial may not support receipt of regulatory approval in CGHD; our other products under development may not be successful; our ability to raise capital and obtain financing to continue our currently planned operations; our now heavy dependence on the success of Macrilen™ (macimorelin) and related out-licensing arrangements and the continued availability of funds and resources to successfully commercialize the product, including our heavy reliance on the success of the license agreement and the amended license agreement (collectively the Novo Amended License Agreement); the global instability due to the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the invasion of the Ukraine, and its unknown potential effect on our planned operations; our ability to enter into out-licensing, development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution agreements with other pharmaceutical companies and keep such agreements in effect; and our ability to continue to list our common shares on the NASDAQ. Investors should consult our quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties, including those risks discussed in our Annual Report on Form 40-F and annual information form, under the caption "Risk Factors". Given the 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.

No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved of the contents of this news release. The Toronto Stock Exchange accepts no responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Investor Contact:

Jenene ThomasJTC TeamT (US): +1 (833) 475-8247E: aezs@jtcir.com

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