Aratana Therapeutics Appoints Jay Lichter, Ph.D., Board Chairman

KANSAS CITY, Kan. and NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aratana Therapeutics, an animal health company developing innovative medicines for cats and dogs (companion animals), today announced the Board of Directors has elected Jay Lichter, Ph.D., Managing Director at Avalon Ventures, as Chairman of Aratana Therapeutics. In addition, the Board added MPM Capital Managing Director John Vander Vort, J.D., to the Company's Board of Directors.

Jay Lichter, Ph.D., Managing Director 
of Avalon Ventures and Chairman of Aratana Therapeutics, stated, "Having served on Aratana's Board since the Company's founding in 2010, I am committed to ensuring Aratana remains true to its mission of bringing world-class medicines to the animal market, for the benefit of companion animals and the people who care for them."

John Vander Vort, J.D., Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of MPM Capital and Director of Aratana Therapeutics, said, "I'm very pleased to join the Board of Aratana at this exciting time in the Company's history. MPM has continued to invest in Aratana because we believe it represents a differentiated play within animal health and we have full confidence in the Aratana team to build a robust pipeline of high-value animal medicines."

Steven St. Peter, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aratana Therapeutics, concluded, "We are very fortunate that our founding investors continue to be actively involved in supporting the Company's trajectory. Both Avalon and MPM have contributed mightily to the Company's success to date, and they are great partners as we build the company going forward."

Jay Lichter, Ph.D.
- Chairman of Aratana Therapeutics; Managing Director
 Avalon Ventures

Jay Lichter, Ph.D. is an experienced biotechnology and pharmaceutical business executive with 25 years of experience in management, scientific research, and business development. He led Avalon VIII's investments in and served as Director and CEO for Afraxis, Carolus, Otonomy, ReVision Therapeutics and Zacharon. He also led the first life science investment for Avalon IX, Sova Pharmaceuticals and serves as the CEO and on the Board of Directors. Throughout his career, Dr. Lichter has applied his exceptional combination of business acumen and deep technical knowledge to creating commercially successful biotech collaborations and identifying the commercial potential of scientific discoveries at their earliest stages. Dr. Lichter is the inventor on 260 patent and patent applications for six Avalon portfolio companies, including 55 issued patents. Dr. Lichter has been either directly responsible for or participated in licensing or merger and acquisition deals valued in excess of $1 billion.

John Vander Vort, J.D. - Director of Aratana Therapeutics; Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of MPM Capital

John W. Vander Vort joined MPM in 2005 from DuPont Capital Management, where he constructed and managed a venture capital portfolio. Previously, he was a General Partner and Co-Founder of BlueStream Ventures, a venture capital firm with $280 million under management. He was also a Managing Director at Dain Rauscher Wessels (now RBC), where he led the West Coast Networking and Communications Investment Banking Group and served as an advisor to leading venture-backed technology companies. Mr. Vander Vort began his career as a corporate transaction attorney in the San Francisco office of Cooley Godward, where he represented venture capital firms and venture-backed companies. Mr. Vander Vort earned his B.A. from Amherst College and his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.

About Aratana Therapeutics

Aratana Therapeutics is an animal health drug development company uniquely positioned to deliver high quality new medicines that address significant therapeutic needs for cats and dogs (companion animals). Aratana licenses and develops proprietary, patent-protected compounds acquired from human pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and then develops strategies to maximize the value of the programs for the animal health market. For more information, please visit

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SOURCE Aratana Therapeutics