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Conatus Pharmaceuticals to Ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell in Celebration of 2013 Milestones

-- Live Webcast Available at 9:15 am ET --

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:CNAT), a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver disease, will ring the Opening Bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York today in honor of Conatus' successful initial public offering (IPO) in July 2013 and subsequent advancement of its lead development program.

Conatus Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., will perform the honorary bell ringing ceremony today from 9:15 to 9:30 am ET. A live webcast will be available at http://www.nasdaq.com/about/marketsitetowervideo.asx. Conatus leadership team members and guests will join Dr. Mento in the ceremony.

"We ring The NASDAQ Opening Bell today to celebrate the substantial progress we've made at Conatus Pharmaceuticals this year," stated Dr. Mento. "As a company focused on extending and improving the lives of patients with liver disease, we're proud to have advanced the clinical program for our lead candidate, emricasan, in development for acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), a rare and catastrophic form of liver failure in patients with underlying long-term liver disease. We also successfully completed our IPO in July, providing us with important capital to pursue the potential development of emricasan in larger patient populations."

About Emricasan Clinical Development

Conatus is developing emricasan for the treatment of patients in orphan populations with chronic liver disease and acute exacerbations of chronic liver disease. To date, emricasan has been studied in over 500 subjects in ten clinical trials. In a randomized Phase 2b clinical trial, emricasan demonstrated a statistically significant, consistent, rapid and sustained reduction in elevated levels of two key biomarkers of inflammation and cell death that are implicated in the severity and progression of liver disease. Emricasan is currently in a Phase 2b clinical trial in patients with ACLF, as well as a Phase 2 clinical trial in severe alcoholic hepatitis. Clinical trials in chronic liver failure and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), are planned for 2014.

About Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Conatus is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver disease. Conatus is developing emricasan as a first-in class, orally active caspase protease inhibitor designed to reduce the activity of enzymes that mediate inflammation and cell death, or apoptosis. Conatus believes that by reducing the activity of these enzymes, emricasan has the potential to interrupt the progression of liver disease. For additional information, please visit www.conatuspharma.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this press release, including statements regarding the potential for Conatus' existing capital resources to be sufficient for contemplated clinical development of emricasan and the anticipated timing of clinical trials of emricasan in chronic liver failure and NASH/NAFLD, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as "may," "will," "should," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "could," "intend," "target," "project," "contemplates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including: changes in the planned use of proceeds from Conatus' initial public offering; Conatus' ability to maintain sufficient capital to advance the clinical development of emricasan and fund Conatus' operations; Conatus' reliance on third parties to conduct its clinical trials, manufacture its preclinical and clinical drug supplies and manufacture commercial supplies of emricasan, if approved; potential adverse side effects or other safety risks associated with emricasan; results of current and future clinical trials of emricasan; the uncertainty of the FDA approval process and other regulatory requirements; the potential for competing products to limit the clinical trial enrollment opportunities for emricasan in certain indications; and those described in Conatus' prior press releases and the periodic reports it files with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The events and circumstances reflected in Conatus' forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Except as required by applicable law, Conatus does not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.

CONTACT: INVESTORS Paul Cox, Stern Investor Relations (212) 362-1200, ir@conatuspharma.com MEDIA Mariesa Kemble, Sam Brown Inc. (608) 850-4745, mariesakemble@sambrown.comSource:Conatus Pharmaceuticals