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Ceregene Appoints Joao Siffert, M.D. to the Position of Chief Medical Officer

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Ceregene, Inc., announced today that it has appointed Joao Siffert, M.D. to the position of vice president and chief medical officer. Dr. Siffert will be responsible for Ceregene's clinical programs in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases and will report to Raymond T. Bartus, Ph.D., Ceregene's senior vice president of clinical and preclinical R&D and chief operating officer.

"Joao brings a wealth of experience in clinical development to Ceregene as he has managed all aspects of clinical trials from Phase 1-4 and product launch in neurological areas, which will be highly relevant to us as we continue pursuing our clinical programs for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease," stated Jeffrey M. Ostrove, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Ceregene. "Ceregene is currently conducting a controlled Phase 2 trial of CERE-120 for Parkinson's disease, and Joao's contributions will be critical as we move this product into late stage trials in the coming years."

Dr. Siffert previously served as the chief medical officer at Avera Pharmaceuticals, a CNS specialty pharma company. Prior to joining Avera, Dr. Siffert held positions with Pfizer as the worldwide medical team leader in areas of pain and epilepsy of various products including Relpax, Lyrica and Neurontin. He was also instrumental in the Phase 3b/4 program development and global launch of Lyrica. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Siffert held academic positions at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he served as director of the Adult Neuro-Oncology program, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he was assistant professor of Neurology. During his tenure at Beth Israel, Dr. Siffert was actively involved in clinical research of novel therapies for patients with brain and spinal cord tumors. He completed residencies in pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine and in neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Siffert was certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. He holds an M.D. degree from the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine as well as an MBA degree from Columbia University Business School.

"I am pleased to join Ceregene at this particular juncture in the company's history, as the company has accomplished a lot in its clinical programs for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, and I look forward to help steer these promising therapies through later stage clinical development," said Dr. Siffert. "I have reviewed Ceregene's nonclinical and clinical data to date, and I am particularly excited by the potential that CERE-120 and CERE-110 show to not only reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, respectively, but also to treat the underlying disease process."

"Joao's breadth of experience in developing novel neurological products will be invaluable to Ceregene as our programs continue to mature," stated Dr. Bartus. "I personally look forward to working with Joao to refine and execute our clinical and regulatory strategies and am pleased to welcome someone with such experience and success to help lead our clinical programs as a key member of our executive team."

About Ceregene

Ceregene, Inc. is a San Diego-based biotechnology company focused on the delivery of nervous system growth factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders using gene delivery. Ceregene's clinical programs include CERE-110, an AAV2 based vector expressing nerve growth factor that is currently in Phase 1/2 studies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and CERE-120 (AAV2-Neurturin) currently in a controlled Phase 2 study for Parkinson's disease. CERE-130 and CERE-140 are in preclinical development for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and ocular disorders, respectively. Ceregene was launched in January 2001, and the company's investors include Alta Partners, MPM Capital, Investor Growth Capital and Cell Genesys (Nasdaq: CEGE), as well as Hamilton BioVentures and California Technology Partners.

SOURCE Ceregene
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