May 6, 2010 / 12:20 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-Aeterna cancer treatment gets orphan-drug status

* Says ovarian cancer treatment gets orphan-drug status

* Shares up 15.3 pct in trade before the bell

TORONTO, May 6 (Reuters) - Canadian drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris Inc AEZ.TO said on Thursday that U.S. regulators have granted their ovarian cancer treatment orphan-drug status.

The orphan-drug designation is reserved for new treatments that are being developed to treat diseases or conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. The status grants the drug developers seven years of market exclusivity.

Quebec-based Aeterna said the ovarian cancer treatment is currently in a phase 2 trial in advanced ovarian and advanced endometrial cancer in Europe.

On Wednesday, Aeterna Zentaris and its U.S. partner Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX.O) said that U.S. regulators had granted their colorectal cancer treatment fast track approval, sending the shares of the two companies soaring. [ID:nN05172785]

Shares of Aeterna were up 19 cents at $1.43 in trade before the morning bell on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Derek Caney)

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