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Optimer Pharmaceuticals Appoints Gregory Papaz to New Position of Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTR) today announced that Gregory Papaz has joined Optimer as Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations.  Mr. Papaz will lead the preparations for the planned commercialization of fidaxomicin.  He brings with him more than thirty years of experience in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry managing pharmaceutical sales teams.


"Greg comes to Optimer with best-in-class business experience in the hospital and specialty market segments combined with a proven record of recent successful new product introductions," said Pedro Lichtinger, Optimer's President and CEO. "Greg will build and lead our commercial organization in the United States and is ideally suited to lead a successful hospital launch for fidaxomicin."

Prior to joining Optimer, Mr. Papaz held the position of Rheumatology Sales Director, Commercial Marketing at Genentech where he was responsible for planning and launching Actemra®, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis. In this role, Mr. Papaz staffed a 130-person sales team which sold directly into hospitals, with direct contact to hospital pharmacies, physician leaders and hospital management. Prior to Genentech, he worked for Roche Pharma as the Anemia National Sales Director. Prior to Roche Pharma, Mr. Papaz was the Vice President, Cardiovascular Hospital Sales at Sanofi-Aventis.  While in this position, Greg merged and restructured the Sanofi hospital team with the Aventis Advanced Therapeutics team.  This resulted in the creation of the largest specialized sales force at Sanofi, as well as the largest hospital sales force in the U.S. pharma industry.  Consequently, Greg was involved in overseeing a team of approximately 850 hospital sales professionals, including 85 managers and 11 directors, and managed $2 billion in annual Lovenox® sales and the hospital portion of the $4 billion Plavix® business.  

Mr. Papaz began his career as a sales representative for Marion Laboratories and was quickly promoted into larger sales leadership roles over the next thirty years, including Vice President, Bone/CNS Sales, followed by Vice President, Oncology Sales at Aventis Pharmaceuticals prior to his position at Sanofi-Aventis. Mr. Papaz received his MBA from the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University. He holds a BS in Hospital and Healthcare Administration from Providence College.  

About Optimer PharmaceuticalsOptimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing hospital specialty products to treat serious infections and address unmet medical needs. Optimer has two anti-infective product candidates in development, fidaxomicin and Pruvel™ (prulifloxacin).  Fidaxomicin is a narrow spectrum antibiotic being developed for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).  The Company has submitted an NDA to the FDA, and filed a MAA with the EMA (European Medicines Agency) for fidaxomicin. Pruvel™ is a prodrug in the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics being developed as a treatment for infectious diarrhea. Additional information can be found at

Forward-Looking StatementsStatements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements, including without limitation all statements related to the potential approval and commercial launch of fidaxomicin, Optimer's establishment of a commercial organization and the future roles and contributions of Mr. Papaz at Optimer. Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "intend," "will," "goal" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The inclusion of forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by Optimer that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this release due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Optimer's business including, without limitation, risks relating to: the timing, progress and likelihood of success of its product development efforts, the timing and status of regulatory filings, receipt of regulatory approvals, Optimer's ability to recruit and retain a commercial sales force, and other risks detailed in Optimer's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.ContactsOptimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Christina Donaghy, Corporate Communications ManagerJohn D. Prunty, Chief Financial Officer & VP Finance858-909-0736Canale Communications, Inc.Jason I. Spark, Senior Vice President619-849-6005

SOURCE Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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