May 13, 2010 / 11:17 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Aeterna quarterly loss narrows on lower costs

* Q1 Loss $0.09 a shr vs loss of $0.23 a shr, a yr-earlier

* Co says lower R&D, admin costs help cut losses (Adds details. In U.S. dollars)

TORONTO, May 13 (Reuters) - Aeterna Zentaris Inc’s AEZ.TO first-quarter loss narrowed, due to lower administrative and research and development costs.

The Canadian drugmaker, known for its cancer therapies, posted a loss of $5.9 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a loss of $12.4 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a loss of 12 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its quarterly results were weighed down by lower license fee revenues, along with lower sales and royalty margins.

Earlier this year, Aeterna warned that it expects its 2010 licensing fees to drop substantially and its sales and royalties to fall slightly because of lost licensing fees.

Its fourth quarter was helped by $35.2 million in licensing fees from its partners, including $30.4 million from Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA). This was part of its development and marketing agreement for cetrorelix, a treatment for an enlarged prostate.

That agreement was later scrapped following disappointing late-stage results for the treatment. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha and Scott Anderson; Editing by Derek Caney)

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