Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT) announced that a poster addressing results in bothex vivo cell culture and in vivo mouse models of hepatocellular carcinoma with IDN-7314, an orally active pan-caspase inhibitor, is being presented today at The International Liver Congress™ 2016, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in Barcelona, Spain, April 13-17, 2016.

The poster (#FRI-078) entitled, “The potent pan-caspase inhibitor IDN-7314 does not affect tumor growth rate nor does it antagonize the efficacy of sorafenib in models of hepatocellular carcinoma,” will be displayed today, Friday, April 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CET, and will be attended by presenting author Patricia C. Contreras, Ph.D., Vice President, Preclinical Development at Conatus and lead author on the poster, during a scheduled poster session.

A late breaker oral presentation (#LBO5) entitled, “Emricasan (IDN-6556) orally for three months in patients with cirrhosis and Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores 11-18 improves clinical parameters of cirrhosis in patients with baseline MELD score ≥15,” will be delivered on Saturday, April 16, at 5:00 p.m. CET, by Catherine Frenette, M.D., Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA, and a principal investigator in the company’s multicenter Phase 2 Liver Cirrhosis clinical trial of emricasan.

Summary of Caspase Inhibitor Hepatocellular Carcinoma Poster
IDN-7314, an irreversible orally active pan-caspase inhibitor closely related to the company’s lead compound IDN-6556 (emricasan), was evaluated alone and in combination with liver cancer standard-of-care sorafenib treatment in both a human liver cancer cell culture and a human liver cancer implanted and established in mice. In the cell culture studies, IDN-7314 had no effect on cancer cell viability and no decrease in sorafenib efficacy. In mice, IDN-7314 had no effect compared to placebo on tumor growth and no decrease in sorafenib efficacy. The authors concluded that inhibition of caspases by IDN-7314 does not affect the growth rate of established human liver tumors in mice, and does not affect the anti-tumor activity of sorafenib in models of human liver cancer, providing experimental evidence that directly addresses theoretical concerns regarding caspase inhibition and cancer promotion.

“With these latest results, we are pleased to add to the growing body of data supporting the safety of caspase inhibition,” said Alfred P. Spada, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer of Conatus. “Previous studies with emricasan have demonstrated:  1) no evidence of tumorigenic activity in regulatory carcinogenicity studies in mice genetically predisposed to develop cancer; 2) no evidence of tumorigenic activity after chronic dosing in healthy rodents and primates; 3) no effect on mechanistically relevant markers of caspase activity or apoptosis in healthy humans; and 4) no difference from placebo in cancer incidence in more than 650 humans treated to date. The current caspase inhibitor studies demonstrated no change in tumor growth rate and no impact on the cancer treatment effect of sorafenib in established, implanted liver cancer tumors in mice. We believe that these data directly address the lingering theoretical concern linking caspase inhibition with cancer.”(Original Source)

Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $3.03, up $0.05 or 1.68%. CNAT has a 1-year high of $7.12 and a 1-year low of $1.40. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $2.28 and its 200-day moving average is $2.80.

On the ratings front, Conatus has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 31, FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino assigned a Buy rating on CNAT. Separately, on March 10, Brean Murray Carret’s Difei Yang maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $13.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Vernon Bernardino and Difei Yang have a total average return of -16.8% and -13.9% respectively. Bernardino has a success rate of 33.3% and is ranked #3765 out of 3798 analysts, while Yang has a success rate of 32.1% and is ranked #3766.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. operates as a biotechnology company, which engages in the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver diseases. It develops lead compound, emricasan, for the treatment of patients in orphan populations with chronic liver disease and acute exacerbations of chronic liver disease. The company was founded by Alfred P. Spada, Jennifer Giottonini Cayer, Steven J. Mento and Charles J. Cashion on July 13, 2005 and is headquartered in San Diego, CA.