Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT) announced that three posters addressing clinical results with emricasan, the company’s first-in-class, orally active pan-caspase protease inhibitor, have been accepted for presentation at The International Liver Congress™ 2015, the 50th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in Vienna, Austria, April 22-26, 2015.

An abstract accepted under the standard submission deadline for a poster (ePoster #P0396) entitled, “Emricasan, a potent pan-caspase inhibitor, rapidly reduces caspase activity and biomarkers of apoptosis in patients with hepatic impairment but not in healthy volunteers: implications for safety, selectivity and mechanism of action,” was published today on the EASL website at This poster will be presented on April 24 at 3:30 p.m. CET at ePoster screen A-02.

“In multiple clinical trials, emricasan has consistently and rapidly reduced circulating elevated levels of caspase activity and markers of apoptosis in subjects with liver disease,” said Al Spada, Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer of Conatus. “In contrast, emricasan has no discernable effect on circulating levels of caspase activity or markers of apoptosis in healthy individuals. This important observation provides new insight on the safety and selectivity of emricasan and further supports our belief that emricasan is uniquely suited to potentially address multiple patient populations across the spectrum of liver disease.”

Two abstracts were accepted for late-breaker posters. One abstract details results from the company’s Phase 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of emricasan in 38 patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including the subset of NAFLD patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Top-line results from the NAFLD/NASH trial were reported in March. The other abstract details results from the company’s Phase 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of emricasan in 21 patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). Top-line results from the ACLF trial were reported in January. The late-breaker abstracts will remain under embargo until the EASL meeting date.

Summary of Hepatic Impairment Abstract

Emricasan was administered as a single 50 mg oral dose to patients with mild (n=8), moderate (n=12) or severe (n=8), hepatic impairment and 8 matched healthy controls. In a separate trial, emricasan was administered as a single 50 mg dose to 8 subjects with severe renal impairment and 8 matched healthy controls. In both trials, serial blood samples were collected over a 48-hour period and analyzed for markers of apoptosis, cell death and caspase enzymatic activity.

All 28 subjects with hepatic impairment experienced rapid and significant reductions (p < 0.05), relative to Baseline for all of these markers of mechanistic activity and pharmacodynamic response following a single 50 mg oral dose of emricasan. In subjects with severe renal impairment, markers of cell death and caspase activity were elevated at Baseline relative to controls and emricasan had no effect on these markers. Emricasan also had no effect on caspase activity or markers of apoptosis in healthy volunteers.

Conclusions from these observations included that:

  • In healthy individuals, normal caspase activity and apoptosis are largely unaffected by emricasan;
  • The lack of effect in subjects with severe renal impairment suggests a high degree of liver tissue specificity for emricasan; and
  • Emricasan may provide clinical benefit to patients with liver disease including those with advanced stages of liver disease (Original Source)

Shares of Conatus closed yesterday at $6.04 . CNAT has a 1-year high of $11.74 and a 1-year low of $5.06. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $6.26 and it’s 200-day moving average is $6.74.

On the ratings front, Conatus has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 27, Piper Jaffray analyst Charles Duncan reiterated a Buy rating on CNAT, with a price target of $9, which represents a potential upside of 49.0% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on March 26, MLV & Co.’s Vernon Bernardino reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $16.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Charles Duncan and Vernon Bernardino have a total average return of 11.3% and -10.7% respectively. Duncan has a success rate of 53.3% and is ranked #734 out of 3569 analysts, while Bernardino has a success rate of 34.7% and is ranked #3493.

In total, 4 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $6.04 which is 111.1% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver disease.