Conatus Pharmaceuticals Appoints Two Additional Independent Board Members

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:CNAT), a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver disease, today announced the appointment of two additional independent members to the Conatus Board of Directors: Daniel L. Kisner, M.D., a highly respected life sciences leader with demonstrated successes in drug development, pharmaceutical and research tool approvals, and venture capital investments; and Preston S. Klassen, M.D., M.H.S., an accomplished biopharmaceutical company executive with broad experience including clinical, regulatory, medical affairs and commercial responsibilities across multiple therapeutic areas.

"We are pleased to expand and enhance our Board of Directors with these two abundantly qualified individuals," said Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Conatus. "Dan's contributions in both corporate management and venture capital provide a wealth of experience and a balanced perspective for facilitating alignment of company and investor interests. Preston's background encompassing a full spectrum of corporate responsibilities positions him to offer proficient and unbiased guidance on issues affecting the entire organization. We are particularly fortunate to have access to these two exceptional resources as we advance our lead drug candidate, emricasan, for multiple potential liver disease applications in parallel."

Daniel L. Kisner, M.D.

Dr. Kisner serves as an independent consultant in the life science industry. He was a partner at Aberdare Ventures from 2003 to 2011. Dr. Kisner served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caliper Life Sciences from 2002 to 2008, and as President and CEO of its predecessor company, Caliper Technologies, from 1999 to 2002. He held positions of increasing responsibility at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from 1991 to 1999, most recently as President and COO. Dr. Kisner previously served in pharmaceutical research and development executive positions at Abbott Laboratories from 1988 to 1991 and at SmithKline Beckman Laboratories from 1985 to 1988. He held a tenured faculty position in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Texas, San Antonio School of Medicine until 1985 after a five-year advancement through the Cancer Treatment Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Kisner is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Kisner holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and an M.D. from Georgetown University. Dr. Kisner currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and as a director at Lpath Pharmaceuticals and Dynavax Technologies Corporation, and has extensive prior private and public company board experience.

Preston S. Klassen, M.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Klassen has served as Senior Vice President and Head of Global Development at Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., since 2009. He advanced from 2002 to 2009 through several medical director positions at Amgen, Inc., most recently as Therapeutic Area Head for Nephrology and Executive Medical Director. His experience at Amgen included global regulatory filings, design and conduct of large clinical trials, clinical commercialization of multiple products, and active leadership in regulatory agency interactions. Dr. Klassen was a faculty member in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University Medical Center from 1997 to 2002. He received his M.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine, fellowship in Nephrology, and M.H.S. degree at Duke University.

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

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 anticipated development plans for emricasan in patients with liver disease, 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 Alan Engbring, Conatus Pharmaceuticals (858) 457-7237, MEDIA Mariesa Kemble, Sam Brown Inc. (608) 850-4745, mariesakemble@sambrown.comSource:Conatus Pharmaceuticals