updated 3/21/2011 9:16:19 AM ET 2011-03-21T13:16:19

SAN DIEGO, March 21, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lithera, Inc. today announced the appointment of George W. Mahaffey as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mahaffey will also join the Lithera Board of Directors. John D. Dobak, MD, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lithera since its inception, will remain on the Board of Directors.

"I am pleased to have George Mahaffey join Lithera, and I look forward to participating in the future growth of the Company as a member of the Board," said Dr. Dobak. "Lithera has progressed from inception through Phase 2 development with a rare combination of speed, high quality research and capital efficiency. With George's extensive commercialization experience, I fully expect Lithera to continue its operational excellence and successful advancement of the development of LIPO-102."

"I look forward to joining a team that has effectively accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time," said Mr. Mahaffey. "I expect to bring my experience in late stage development, commercialization and strategic corporate planning to maximize the value of Lithera's assets."

Mr. Mahaffey has 24 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience. Most recently, he served as CEO of Peplin, Inc. after the dermatology company's acquisition by LEO Pharma A/S in 2009; he was instrumental in this $287.5M transaction. Prior to the acquisition, he served as Peplin's Chief Commercial Officer and VP, Sales and Marketing. Mr. Mahaffey also served as Sr. VP, Sales and Marketing for Cotherix, Inc. where he led the corporate commercialization and successful launch of Ventavis® (iloprost), an orphan drug to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. He was heavily involved in the acquisition of CoTherix by Actelion Ltd. for $420M in 2007. Prior to CoTherix, Mr. Mahaffey worked at Scios, Inc. (acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $2.4B in 2003) where he led the launch of Natrecor® (nesiritide) to treat acutely decompensated congestive heart failure that proved to be one of the most successful launches of any acute care cardiovascular product to date. Mr. Mahaffey also worked in various marketing functions at Neurex, Inc. (acquired by Elan Corp. for $700M in 1998). He began his pharmaceutical career at DuPont Pharmaceuticals where he held various sales and marketing positions. Mr. Mahaffey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the University of South Florida.

About Lithera

Lithera is a clinical stage company developing pharmaceutical and biomedical products addressing both medical and lifestyle indications in ophthalmology and aesthetic medicine. Our lead product candidate ( LIPO-102 ) is a novel injectable pharmaceutical product designed to produce local, selective fat tissue reduction ( pharmaceutical lipoplasty ). LIPO-102 is currently under development for the treatment of symptomatic exophthalmos (protrusion of the eye from the orbit) associated with thyroid-related eye disease (the thyroid condition is also known as Graves' Disease ) and the reduction of abdominal adiposity. Founded in 2007, the Company has assembled an exceptional team of senior executives, employees and advisors and has been financed by top-tier venture capital firms. For more information on Lithera, Inc., please visit www.lithera.com .

Lithera, LIPO-102 and the Lithera logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Lithera, Inc. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

The Lithera, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7073

CONTACT: Kenneth W. Locke, Ph.D.
         Chief Scientific Officer
         Lithera, Inc.
         9191 Towne Centre Drive
         San Diego, CA 92122
         Phone: 858-750-1008
         E-mail: klocke@lithera.com

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