Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT) announced the delivery of a late breaker oral presentation 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 presentation (#LBO5) entitled, “Emricasan (IDN-6556) orally for three months in patients with cirrhosis and MELD scores 11-18 improves clinical parameters of cirrhosis in patients with baseline MELD score ≥15,” was 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.

The results featured in the Conatus late-breaker presentation were included among the notable developments in cirrhosis by Jaime Bosch, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona; and Guest Professor at Inselspital, Bern University, Switzerland, in his address at the closing general session of The International Liver Congress™ 2016 on Sunday.

“The results from the first stage of this trial in patients with cirrhosis and elevated MELD score showed that after only three months, emricasan treatment improved measures of liver function and prognosis [Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) and Child Pugh scores] in patients with baseline MELD scores of 15 or higher,” said Dr. Frenette, “with a reassuring safety profile that was generally balanced compared to placebo. The importance of these results is reflected in their selection for a late breaker oral presentation at The International Liver Congress™ 2016, and in their recognition by Dr. Bosch. I am pleased to represent the investigators in presenting these data and am excited about the potential of this therapy to provide clinical benefit for patients with cirrhosis who have few options besides liver transplant, which is a major procedure with its own risks and challenges.”

Conatus co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., said, “We are encouraged by the results from the first stage of our Liver Cirrhosis clinical trial, as detailed in Dr. Frenette’s late breaker oral presentation, and eager to evaluate the results after an additional three months of treatment in the second stage of the trial. Our commitment to the continued development of emricasan, a potentially disease-modifying drug candidate, is driven by the high unmet medical need in liver cirrhosis, especially among patients who have reached the transplant eligibility threshold of 15 or greater in MELD score.”

Liver Cirrhosis Trial

The double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 Liver Cirrhosis clinical trial was conducted at 26 U.S. sites and enrolled 86 patients with liver cirrhosis due to different etiologies, mild to moderate liver impairment and baseline MELD scores of 11 to 18. In the double-blind and placebo-controlled stage, patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either 25 mg of emricasan or placebo orally twice daily for three months. The primary endpoint was change from baseline in cleaved Cytokeratin 18 (cCK18). Secondary endpoints included changes from baseline in MELD and Child-Pugh scores, which include laboratory parameters associated with liver synthetic and excretory function, such as serum albumin levels, international normalized ratio (INR) and total bilirubin levels. In the open-label stage, all patients either on emricasan or placebo receive emricasan for an additional three months. Six-month data from patients who continued treatment and three-month data from placebo patients who crossed over to emricasan treatment are expected in the second quarter of 2016. (Original Source)

Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals closed last Friday at $3.05, up $0.02 or 0.66%. 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 $2.33 and its 200-day moving average is $2.76.

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 -16.6% and -13.8% respectively. Bernardino has a success rate of 32.5% and is ranked #3759 out of 3795 analysts, while Yang has a success rate of 32.3% and is ranked #3762.

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.