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 December 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

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                Press release dated December 22, 2004: AEterna Zentaris Grants its
                Subsidiary Atrium Biotechnologies Marketing Rights for Neovastat

                                                         [AETERNA ZENTARIS LOGO]

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, DECEMBER 22, 2004 - AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX: AEZ; 
Nasdaq: AEZS) today announced an agreement with its subsidiary Atrium 
Biotechnologies Inc., whereby AEterna Zentaris will increase its stake in 
Atrium from 60.2% to 61.1% upon transfer of rights to Atrium's Health and 
Nutrition division, excluding North America, to market and distribute its 
antiangiogenic product Neovastat(R).

"This agreement was signed following a thorough evaluation of different business
opportunities for Neovastat(R). It fits into our strategic plan aimed at
optimizing the full potential of our products and maximizing value for our
shareholders," stated Gilles Gagnon, President and Chief Executive Officer at
AEterna Zentaris. "With their expertise and strong proven track record in their
field of activity, Atrium Biotechnologies becomes a partner of choice", he

According to Luc Dupont, Atrium's President and Chief Executive Officer, "This
transaction will enrich Atrium's pipeline with an innovative compound. This
development is especially timely in light of an increased demand from healthcare
professionals for safe and effective alternatives. We believe that Atrium,
through its Health and Nutrition division, is in a good position to successfully
sell this product."

Further to this agreement, existing marketing partnerships for Neovastat(R) with
Grupo Ferrer, LG Life Sciences and Mayne Pharma remain valid and will be managed
by Atrium. However, the existing partnership between Medac GmbH and AEterna
Zentaris has been terminated following a mutual agreement.

The US NCI is currently conducting a Phase III trial with Neovastat(R) as a
first-line therapy in combination with standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy
for non-small cell lung cancer.

                                                         [AETERNA ZENTARIS LOGO]


AEterna Zentaris Inc. is an oncology and endocrine therapy focused
biopharmaceutical company with proven expertise in drug discovery, development
and commercialization. The Company's broad, renewable product pipeline leverages
five different therapeutic approaches, including LHRH antagonists and signal
transduction inhibitors. The lead LHRH antagonist compound, cetrorelix, is
currently marketed for IN VITRO fertilization under the brand name Cetrotide(R),
and has successfully completed a broad Phase II program in endometriosis and
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The lead signal transduction inhibitor
compound, perifosine, is an orally-active AKT inhibitor that is in several Phase
II trials for multiple cancers.

AEterna Zentaris also owns 61.1% of Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., an
international company that develops, manufactures and markets added-value active
ingredients and specialty chemicals for the cosmetics, chemical, pharmaceutical
and nutritional industries, as well as health and nutrition products.

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


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 - office            (418) 652-8525 ext. 360
(418) 573-8982 - mobile                     -----------------------------------

Dr. Mathias Pietras
+49 69 42602 3423


             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:  December 22, 2004                        By:  /s/ Mario Paradis          
------------------------                             ---------------------------
                                                     Mario Paradis
                                                     Senior Finance Director and
                                                     Corporate Secretary