Ocera Announces Management Transition

PALO ALTO, Calif. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Sept. 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OCRX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on acute and chronic orphan liver diseases, today announced a transition in the business development team at Ocera. Gaurav Aggarwal, M.D., Chief Business Officer of Ocera, is returning to his former role as a biopharmaceutical investor. Akiko Shibata, the former Vice President of Business Operations at Ocera from 2005 to 2013, will be rejoining the team as Head of Business Development. Following his departure as Chief Business Officer on October 7, 2016, Dr. Aggarwal will remain involved with Ocera in an advisory capacity.

“I have greatly enjoyed working with the team at Ocera and helping to drive our corporate strategy,” said Dr. Aggarwal. “I remain very enthusiastic about OCR-002 and look forward to collaborating with Akiko and the company’s management team to help Ocera achieve its corporate objectives.”

“We are pleased to welcome Akiko back to the Ocera team and wish Gaurav the best of success in his new endeavors,” said Linda Grais, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Ocera. “We believe that Gaurav’s continued involvement with the company will benefit Ocera and its stakeholders.”

Akiko Shibata has spent 25 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, primarily in business development, marketing and other management functions. She most recently served as Head of Business Development at Zafgen, Inc. Previously, Ms. Shibata held a series of key senior business development positions in companies such as Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Chiron Corporation, Elan Pharmaceuticals and Baxter Healthcare. Ms. Shibata holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago.

About Ocera

Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of OCR-002 (ornithine phenylacetate) in both intravenous and oral formulations. OCR-002 is an ammonia scavenger and has been granted orphan drug designation and Fast Track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hyperammonemia and resultant hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in patients with acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic liver disease.

About Hepatic Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy is a debilitating and progressive complication of liver cirrhosis or liver failure, marked by mental changes including confusion, impaired motor skills, disorientation, and in its more severe form, stupor, coma and even death.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking" statements, including, without limitation, all statements related to the OCR-002 clinical development program, including but not limited to the potential success of OCR-002. Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Words such as "believe," "expected," "hope," "plan," "potential," "will" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Ocera's current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and Ocera's actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, including those risks and uncertainties discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in Ocera's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and subsequent filings with the SEC. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Ocera undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

Source: Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.

Susan Sharpe
Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.