June 15, 2009 / 3:37 PM / 9 years ago

Earlier cetrorelix timeline boosts Aeterna stock

* Results released in Q3 rather than Q4

* Stock up 28.5 percent at C$2.57

TORONTO, June 15 (Reuters) - Aeterna Zentaris AEZ.TO said on Monday it plans to release results of a key study for its treatment for enlargement of the prostate gland ahead of schedule, sending its shares as much as 50 percent.

The Quebec City-based company said a safety study of its cetrorelix treatment would be completed by the end of this week, allowing it to release the results of the study in the third-quarter. It had originally planned to announce the results sometime in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Aeterna, which have fallen 43 percent so far this month on negative news concerning its cancer drug, were up 28.5 percent at C$2.57 on the Toronto Stock Exchange by late morning. Earlier they soared as high as C$3.00.

Company spokesman Paul Burroughs said the company still planned to seek marketing approval for the cetrorelix treatment in the United States in mid-2010.

Neil Maruoka, an analyst at Canaccord Adams, said the announcement was key, but added that it must still complete two more studies before it could the FDA approval.

“This is a good sign. It is a good indication that the trial progressed smoothly and ahead of expectations,” Maruoka said.

“When you look at what’s expected coming up, you have two pivotal trials for the drug and those will really be the bottlenecks to submit the new drug application, so you will need positive results from those two studies.”

Earlier this year, Aeterna struck a deal with pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA) to develop and market the treatment in the United States, which provided the Canadian firm with enough cash to see the product through the U.S. approval process.

$1=$1.14 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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