Pliant Therapeutics Announces Appointments of Darren Cline and Thomas McCourt to Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pliant Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLRX), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of fibrosis, today announced the appointments of Darren Cline and Thomas McCourt to its Board of Directors.

"I am pleased to welcome Darren and Thomas whose extensive commercial and operational expertise will be crucial as we progress toward late-stage clinical development,” said Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Pliant Therapeutics. “I am confident that their insights and experience will prove invaluable as we execute on our strategy to bring potentially transformative therapeutics to patients.”

Mr. Cline is a seasoned pharmaceutical industry executive with over 30 years of strategic and operational experience in building commercial organizations. Mr. Cline currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Epygenix Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing therapies for rare epilepsies. Prior to this, Mr. Cline served as the U.S. Chief Commercial Officer of GW Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), where he was responsible for commercial and medical affairs activities associated with Epidiolex®. Prior to joining GW Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Cline held the role of Executive Vice President, Commercial at Seagen where he managed operations with the commercial launch of Adcetris®. Prior to joining Seagen, Mr. Cline held key commercial leadership roles at Intermune, Alexion and Amgen. Mr. Cline currently serves on the board of directors of Pyxis Oncology. Mr. Cline received his B.S. in Business Marketing from San Diego State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Mr. McCourt is an accomplished biopharmaceutical executive with over 30 years of experience building commercial strategies and capabilities across multiple companies. Mr. McCourt currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a role he has held since June 2021. Since joining Ironwood in 2009, Mr. McCourt has served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Chief Commercial Officer, and President, leading the commercial launch of LINZESS®, now a blockbuster product. Prior to joining Ironwood, Mr. McCourt led the U.S. brand team for Prolia® at Amgen and held several senior commercial roles within Novartis AG, including leading the launch and growth of ZELNORM™. In addition, Mr. McCourt was a founding team member at Astra Merck Inc., where he led the development of the medical affairs and science liaison group, and then served as brand manager for PRILOSEC® and NEXIUM®. Mr. McCourt also served as an independent director and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee at Acceleron Pharma before their acquisition. In 2022, he received the ASGE President’s Award in recognition of his pivotal contribution to the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy and treatment. Mr. McCourt received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy and Pharmacology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "may," "will," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions, or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include those regarding development of our product candidates and corporate strategy. Because such statements deal with future events and are based on our current expectations, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results, performance or achievements of Pliant Therapeutics could differ materially from those described in or implied by the statements in this press release. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those related to the development and commercialization of our product candidates, including any delays in our ongoing or planned preclinical or clinical trials, the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations, clinical supply and plans, our reliance on third parties for critical aspects of our development operations, the risks inherent in the drug development process, the risks regarding the accuracy of our estimates of expenses and timing of development, our capital requirements and the need for additional financing, and our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our product candidates. These and additional risks are discussed in the sections titled "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed for the year ended December 31, 2021 which we filed with the SEC on March 1, 2022, as updated by our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2022, which we filed with the SEC on November 8, 2022, each available on the SEC's website at Unless otherwise noted, Pliant is providing this information as of the date of this news release and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this document as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Pliant Therapeutics, Inc.

Pliant Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapies for the treatment of fibrosis. Pliant's lead product candidate, bexotegrast (PLN-74809), is an oral small molecule dual selective inhibitor of αvß6 and αvß1 integrins that is in development in the lead indications for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, and primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC. Bexotegrast has received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in IPF and PSC and Orphan Drug Designation from the European Medicines Agency in IPF and PSC. Pliant is currently conducting Phase 2a trials of bexotegrast in the lead indications of IPF and PSC. Pliant has also developed PLN-1474, a small molecule, selective inhibitor of αvß1 for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH with liver fibrosis. Pliant is initiating a Phase 1 study for its third clinical program, PLN-101095, a small molecule, dual-selective inhibitor of αvß8 and αvß1 integrins, that is being developed for the treatment of solid tumors. In addition to clinical stage programs, Pliant currently has a preclinical program targeting muscular dystrophies. For additional information about Pliant Therapeutics, visit and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

Investor and Media Contact:

Christopher Keenan
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Pliant Therapeutics, Inc.

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