NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ICPT) (Intercept), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat chronic underserved liver diseases, today announced the election of Gino Santini and Daniel Welch to its Board of Directors. Messrs. Santini and Welch were elected to Intercept's Board of Directors at the 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders held on November 24, 2015. Mr. Santini was formerly Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Eli Lilly and Company. Mr. Welch is Executive Partner, Sofinnova Ventures and former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune.

"We are really pleased to add Gino and Dan to our Board," said Mark Pruzanski, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Intercept. "We are confident that their deep industry and operational experience will be invaluable in helping guide the company as we prepare for the anticipated commercial launch of OCA for PBC and continue to advance our pipeline to address the significant unmet need in a number of chronic liver diseases."

Mr. Santini held a variety of commercial and operational roles at Eli Lilly, serving most recently as Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, where he led corporate strategy and long-range planning, mergers and acquisitions, new product licensing and the expansion of Lilly Ventures in the United States and China. Mr. Santini also previously served as President, U.S. Operations with full P&L responsibility over Eli Lilly's U.S. business which he led through successful approval and launch of seven products, including Actos®, Alimta® and Cialis®. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of several public biopharmaceutical companies, including AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Collegium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Horizon Pharma plc, and Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Santini also serves as a director for several private biopharmaceutical companies. Mr. Santini holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bologna and an M.B.A. from the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester.

Mr. Welch recently joined Sofinnova Ventures, a leading venture capital firm, as an Executive Partner. For the past decade he was the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune, Inc., which was listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market until being acquired by Roche. During his tenure, InterMune secured registration of Esbriet® in Europe and subsequently the United States, the first medicine approved for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, successfully launching the product in Europe in 2011 and setting the stage for its successful launch in the US by Roche in 2014. Prior to InterMune, Mr. Welch served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company which was acquired by Gilead Sciences. Previously, he also served as President of the pharmaceutical division of Elan Corporation, PLC and in various senior management roles at Sanofi-Synthelabo (now Sanofi S.A.). During his time at Sanofi, he led the worldwide launches of Plavix®, Eloxatin® and Avapro® as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and served as Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. business. Mr. Welch currently serves on the Board of Directors of Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (where he serves as the Chairman of the Board) and Seattle Genetics, Inc. Mr. Welch holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina.

"We are honored that Gino and Dan have joined the Board at this pivotal time," said Paolo Fundaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intercept. "We look forward to working with Mark and the entire Intercept team to transform Intercept into a successful global commercial biopharmaceutical company."

About Intercept

Intercept is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat chronic underserved liver diseases. The Company's lead product candidate, obeticholic acid (OCA), is an agonist of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR). OCA is being developed for a variety of chronic liver diseases, including primary biliary cirrhosis, recently renamed primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and biliary atresia. The FDA has granted OCA breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of NASH with liver fibrosis and granted OCA fast track designation for the treatment of patients with PBC. OCA has also received orphan drug designation in both the United States and Europe for the treatment of PBC and PSC. Intercept owns worldwide rights to OCA outside of Japan, China and Korea, where it has out-licensed the product candidate to Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. Intercept's pipeline of product candidates includes other novel bile acid analogs such as INT-767, which is in clinical development. For more information about Intercept, please visit the Company's website at:

Safe Harbor Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the anticipated commercialization of OCA in PBC, the continued development of OCA and Intercept's other product candidates, and our strategic directives under the caption "About Intercept." These "forward-looking statements" are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the initiation, cost, timing, progress and results of our development activities, preclinical studies and clinical trials; the timing of and our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval of OCA, INT-767 and any other product candidates we may develop, particularly the possibility that regulatory authorities may require clinical outcomes data (and not just results based on achievement of a surrogate endpoint) as a condition to any marketing approval for OCA, and any related restrictions, limitations, and/or warnings in the label of any approved product candidates; our plans to research, develop and commercialize our product candidates; the election by our collaborators to pursue research, development and commercialization activities; our ability to attract collaborators with development, regulatory and commercialization expertise; our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for its product candidates; our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates; the size and growth of the markets for our product candidates and our ability to serve those markets; the rate and degree of market acceptance of any future products; the success of competing drugs that are or become available; regulatory developments in the United States and other countries; the performance of third-party suppliers and manufacturers; our need for and ability to obtain additional financing; our estimates regarding expenses, future revenues and capital requirements and the accuracy thereof; our ability to retain key scientific or management personnel; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 filed on March 2, 2015 as well as any updates to these risk factors filed from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Intercept undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

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