* Cancer drug receives fast track approval
* Perifosine in Phase 3 late-stage trial
* Aeterna shares up 7.6 pct, Keryx shares up 9.4 pct
(Adds analyst's comments. In U.S. dollars)
TORONTO, Dec 2 Canadian drugmaker Aeterna
Zentaris (AEZ.TO) said on Wednesday that its experimental
cancer drug KRX-0401 has received fast track approval from U.S.
health regulators, a move that could clear a quick path to
final approval for the multiple myeloma treatment.
Quebec-based Aeterna is developing the drug, also known as
Perifosine, with partner and licensee Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
(KERX.O) in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Aeterna shares were up 7.6 percent at C$1.13 on the Toronto
Stock Exchange. Keryx shares were up 9.4 percent at $2.90 in
"This is a positive and just suggests that the FDA is
viewing the potential of this drug positively," said Neil
Maruoka, an analyst at Canaccord Adams. "This could potentially
shorten the time lines to approval."
Perifosine is currently in Phase 2 mid-stage clinical
development for multiple tumor types, and a Phase 3 late-stage
trial for multiple myeloma is set to begin.
Fast track approval is often awarded to new drugs intended
to treat serious or life-threatening conditions.
Earlier this year the drug received orphan drug designation
from the FDA, which 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, and which
grants the drug developers seven years of market exclusivity.
(Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Peter Galloway)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 416 941 8106; Reuters