Washington, D.C. 20549

                            REPORT OF FOREIGN ISSUER

                      Pursuant to Rule 13a-16 or 15d-16 of
                       the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                          For the month of October 2004

                              AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.
                   (Formerly named AEterna Laboratories Inc.)

                        1405, boul. du Parc-Technologique
                                 Quebec, Quebec
                                 Canada, G1P 4P5
                    (Address of principal executive offices)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual reports
under cover of Form 20-F or Form 40-F.

                   Form 20-F        Form 40-F    X  
                             ------           ------

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant by furnishing the information
contained in this Form is also thereby furnishing the information to the
Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

                          Yes       No   X  
                              -----    -----

If "Yes" is marked, indicate below the file number assigned to the registrant in
connection with Rule 12g3-2(b): 82-_____.

                                 DOCUMENTS INDEX

Documents Description

1.    Press release dated October 20, 2004 - AEterna Zentaris to
      Present at Two Upcoming Conferences in the United States 
      and Germany

                                                                AEterna Zentaris

AEterna Zentaris Inc. 1405 du Parc-Technologique Blvd.
Quebec (Quebec) Canada  G1P 4P5  T 418 652-8525  F 418 652-0881

                                                           PRESS RELEASE
                                                           For immediate release


QUEBEC CITY, CANADA, OCTOBER 20, 2004 - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ; Nasdaq:
AEZS) today announced that Gilles Gagnon, President and Chief Executive Officer
of the Company, will present a corporate update at the Rodman & Renshaw Techvest
6th Annual Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, October 27, 2004, at 3:30 p.m.
ET, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. A live webcast of the
presentation will be available at

Furthermore, on Tuesday, November 9, 2004, at 9:15 a.m. ET, (3:15 p.m. Cologne,
Germany), Michel Cousineau, Director, Business Development at AEterna Zentaris,
will present a corporate update at Bio Europe which will be held in Cologne,
Germany from November 8-10, 2004.


AEterna Zentaris Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused in oncology and
endocrine therapy. Its extensive portfolio, from drug discovery to marketed
products, includes perifosine, an orally-active AKT inhibitor in several Phase
II trials for multiple cancers, and cetrorelix, an LHRH antagonist already
marketed for IN VITRO fertilization under the brand name Cetrotide(R), and also
in advanced clinical development for the treatment of uterine myoma,
endometriosis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

AEterna Zentaris also owns 62% of Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., which develops,
manufactures and markets active ingredients, specialty fine chemicals, cosmetic
and nutritional products for the cosmetics, chemical, pharmaceutical and
nutritional industries.

News releases and additional information about AEterna Zentaris are available on
its new Web site

                                                                AEterna Zentaris


This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe
harbor provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties,
which could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those
in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among
others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the
successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the ability of the Company
to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry,
uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes in economic
conditions. Investors should consult the Company's quarterly and annual filings
with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on
risks and uncertainties relating to the forward-looking statements. Investors
are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. The Company does
not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.


MEDIA RELATIONS                             INVESTOR RELATIONS
Paul Burroughs                              Jacques Raymond
(418) 652-8525 ext. 406                     (418) 652-8525 ext. 360

U.S. INVESTOR RELATIONS                     EUROPE
Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates              Matthias Seeber
Kim Golodetz                                +49 69 42602 3425
(212) 838-3777                    



     Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the
undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

                                      AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.

Date: October 20, 2004                By: /s/ Mario Paradis
----------------------                -------------------------------
                                          Mario Paradis
                                          Senior Finance Director and
                                          Corporate Secretary