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Optimer Pharmaceuticals Appoints Hank McKinnell to Its Board of Directors

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTR) today announced the appointment of Dr. Hank McKinnell to its Board of Directors.  Dr. McKinnell is the former Chief Executive Officer and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pfizer Inc.  He is currently Chairman of the Accordia Global Health Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting infectious diseases in Africa, and is a member of the boards of Moody's Corporation, Angiotech Pharmaceutical, Inc., and privately-held Emmaus Medical, Inc.


"Hank McKinnell's extensive business experience, deep interest in the opportunities of the biotech industry, and dedication to profound social advances to health and wellness for patients globally makes him a valuable addition to Optimer's Board of Directors," said Pedro Lichtinger, President and CEO of Optimer. "Our ability to attract someone with Hank's business acumen and demonstrated leadership talent is an inspiration to our team. His experience in economics, strategy and business operations has been instrumental in pioneering an approach for marrying innovation, health and wellness and market access as the essential formula for success in today's pharmaceutical marketplace.  We at Optimer will benefit from his tremendous skillset and insights."

"Optimer has a unique opportunity to drive some of the most exciting innovation in health care," said Dr. McKinnell.  "Fidaxomicin is a cutting edge antibiotic for c.diff, a bacterial infection putting increasing pressure on hospitals and placing the sick and elderly at particular risk, and addresses a growing health challenge with the aging of our population – especially as the first of the Baby Boomers turn 65 this January.  With the potential FDA approval of fidaxomicin this year, it is an exciting time to be joining Optimer's Board and I look forward to working with the Optimer team."

Dr. McKinnell joined Pfizer in 1971 in Tokyo and over the years held positions of increasing responsibility around the world, including service as President of Pfizer Asia.  In 1984, Dr. McKinnell relocated to New York, where he served as Vice President-Strategic Planning, Chief Financial Officer, President-Pfizer Medical Device Group, President-Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group, and President and Chief Operating Officer.  He was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2001 and served in this role until his retirement in 2006.

He is Chairman Emeritus of the Business Roundtable, an association of 170 CEOs of America's largest companies; the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers Association; the Food and Drug Law Institute; and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association. He is a member of the Academic Alliance and Chairman of the Academic Alliance Foundation, which supports infectious diseases prevention, care and treatment in Sub-Sahara Africa. Dr. McKinnell is also a Senior Advisor to TH Lee Private Equity Partnership, Toyota, and Alexander Proudfoot. He also served as Vice Chairman and a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum, and on the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Recent honors include, among others, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan's highest award to those other than members of the Imperial Family and heads of state; the United Nations Association of the United States of America's Global Leadership Award; the Woodrow Wilson Institute Corporate Service Award; and Stanford University's Graduate School of Business Arbuckle Award and Excellence in Leadership Award.

Dr. McKinnell holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from the University of British Columbia, and M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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 European Medicines Agency (EMA) 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 anticipated development or commercialization of Optimer's product candidates and the anticipated contributions of Dr. McKinnell 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 research and development programs, the timing and status of its applications for marketing approval its product candidates and its ability to successfully commercialize and products for which it receives marketing approval, as well as 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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