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Conatus Pharmaceuticals Appoints Mark F. Morris as Head of Biostatistics

SAN DIEGO, July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced today the appointment of Mark F. Morris as Head of Biostatistics effective immediately. In this newly created position, Mr. Morris will oversee the statistical design of the company's human clinical trials.

"Mark provides an enormous amount of technical expertise in statistical design and analysis," said Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., President and CEO. "His broad experience in drug development including the hepatology field will be particularly important as we move forward with the development of emricasan, our caspase inhibitor, targeted as a treatment for a variety of fibrotic diseases."

During the past few months, Mr. Morris has been a consulting statistician to the pharmaceutical industry.  Prior to that, he had a lengthy career at Pfizer Ltd. Global Research and Development in Sandwich, Kent, England.  Mr. Morris held various positions of increasing responsibility at Pfizer, most recently as Director, Pulmonary Vascular Disease where he led a team of statisticians supporting a U.S. regulatory marketing submission.  Earlier, and of key importance, was the involvement of Mr. Morris as a Director within the GI/Hepatology Therapeutic Area and as lead statistician in the development of emricasan at Pfizer.

In Mr. Morris' role as Director of GI/Hepatology, he was a key contributor in the regulatory strategy for clinical trial design in the areas of liver fibrosis and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis).  He also worked closely with U.S., U.K. and European regulatory agencies, external medical communities and academic institutions.

"I welcome the opportunity to continue the development of emricasan as it advances into Phase 3 clinical trials.  Emricasan has the potential to significantly impact diseases that are caused by chronic inflammation, fibrosis and organ destruction.  My history with this drug candidate will provide an unusual level of continuity from Pfizer and now to Conatus," said Mr. Morris.

"I worked closely with Mark on the emricasan clinical development while at Pfizer.  His expertise will be a valuable addition to the clinical and regulatory teams as we design and conduct the appropriate studies to assess the safety and efficacy of emricasan in the clinic across multiple disease indications" said Dr. Gary Burgess, Chief Medical Officer at Conatus.

Mr. Morris earned his M.S. in Medical Statistics at the University of Leicester and a B.S. in Statistics and Operational Research at Coventry University.  Mr. Morris resides in the United Kingdom.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of innovative human therapeutics in the areas of fibrotic disease and oncology. Conatus' lead drug candidate, emricasan (IDN-6556) is in development as a potential therapy for a variety of fibrotic diseases. Fibrotic diseases affect millions of people worldwide and can be caused by many different types of injuries. Conatus was founded by the executive management team of Idun Pharmaceuticals in July 2005 following the sale of Idun to Pfizer.   Conatus acquired the Idun subsidiary from Pfizer in 2010.  For additional information, please visit

SOURCE Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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