Mast Announces Appointment Of Howard C. Dittrich M.D. To Board of Directors

SAN DIEGO, June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mast Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: MSTX) today announced that Howard C. Dittrich, M.D., F.A.C.C., has joined its Board of Directors.  Dr. Dittrich, a cardiologist by training, has more than 20 years of experience in cardiac therapeutic research and clinical development. 

"We are delighted to welcome Howard to the Board," stated Jack Lief, Chair of Mast's Board of Directors.  "His medical training and extensive clinical development and regulatory affairs experience, particularly with cardiovascular agents, is highly relevant to Mast's development programs and will enrich our expertise.  We look forward to benefitting from his contributions and insights." 

Dr. Dittrich currently serves as Chief Medical Officer of Sorbent Therapeutics, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for cardiovascular and renal diseases, a position he has held since February 2012.  Previously, from June 2003 until it was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. in September 2007, Dr. Dittrich served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs of NovaCardia, Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular diseases, and, from September 2007 to June 2011, he co-founded and served as Chief Medical Officer of Sequel Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held pharmaceutical company spun out from NovaCardia following its acquisition by Merck.  Prior to NovaCardia, from 1996 to 2002, Dr. Dittrich held executive positions overseeing clinical development and regulatory affairs at Molecular Biosystems, Inc. and Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., during which time he was instrumental in gaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of two cardiovascular imaging agents.  From 1984 to 1996, he was a full-time faculty member of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and, from 1996 to 2011, he served part-time as Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSD.  Dr. Dittrich holds a B.S. degree from the University of Iowa and an M.D. from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.  He completed his residency in internal medicine and clinical fellowship in cardiology at UCSD.

About Mast Therapeutics

Mast Therapeutics, Inc. is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego, California.  The Company is leveraging the MAST (Molecular Adhesion and Sealant Technology) platform, derived from over two decades of clinical, nonclinical and manufacturing experience with purified and non-purified poloxamers, to develop MST-188, its lead product candidate, for serious or life-threatening diseases and conditions typically characterized by impaired microvascular blood flow and damaged cell membranes. 

The Company is enrolling subjects in EPIC, a pivotal phase 3 study of MST-188 in sickle cell disease, and in a phase 2 clinical study to evaluate whether MST-188 improves the effectiveness of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator therapy in patients with acute limb ischemia.  The Company also is developing MST-188 in heart failure and plans to announce its clinical development plans in this indication in the second half of 2014.  More information can be found on the Company's web site at (Twitter: @MastThera

Mast Therapeutics™ and the corporate logo are trademarks of Mast Therapeutics, Inc.

Forward Looking Statements

Mast Therapeutics cautions you that statements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements that are based on the Company's current expectations and assumptions. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Dr. Dittrich's potential impact on the Company's success and statements relating to the Company's development plans for its product candidates.  Among the factors that could cause or contribute to material differences between the Company's actual results and the expectations indicated by the forward-looking statements are risks and uncertainties that include, but are not limited to: the uncertainty of outcomes in ongoing and future studies of the Company's product candidates and the risk that its product candidates, including MST-188, may not demonstrate adequate safety, efficacy or tolerability in one or more such studies, including EPIC; delays in the commencement or completion of clinical studies, including as a result of difficulties in obtaining regulatory agency agreement on clinical development plans or clinical study design, opening trial sites, enrolling study subjects, manufacturing sufficient quantities of clinical trial material, being subject to a "clinical hold," and/or suspension or termination of a clinical study, including due to patient safety concerns or lack of funding; the potential for institutional review boards or the FDA or other regulatory agencies to require additional nonclinical or clinical studies prior to initiation of a phase 2 clinical study of MST-188 in heart failure or other indications; the risk that, even if clinical studies are successful, the FDA or other regulatory agencies may determine they are not sufficient to support a new drug application; the potential that, even if clinical studies of a product candidate in one indication are successful, clinical studies in another indication may not be successful; the Company's reliance on contract research organizations (CROs), contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), and other third parties to assist in the conduct of important aspects of development of its product candidates, including clinical studies, manufacturing, and regulatory activities for its product candidates, and that such third parties may fail to perform as expected; the Company's ability to obtain additional funding on a timely basis or on acceptable terms, or at all; the potential for the Company to delay, reduce or discontinue current and/or planned development activities, including clinical studies, partner its product candidates at inopportune times or pursue less expensive but higher-risk and/or lower return development paths if it is unable to raise sufficient additional capital as needed; the risk that, even if the Company successfully develops a product candidate in one or more indications, it may not realize commercial success with its products and may never generate revenue sufficient to achieve profitability; the risk that the Company is not able to adequately protect its intellectual property rights relating to the MAST platform and MST-188 or AIR001 and prevent competitors from duplicating or developing equivalent versions of its product candidates; and other risks and uncertainties more fully described in the Company's press releases and periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available at

You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date when made. Mast Therapeutics does not intend to revise or update any forward-looking statement set forth in this press release to reflect events or circumstances arising after the date hereof, except as may be required by law. 

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SOURCE Mast Therapeutics, Inc.

Mast Therapeutics, Ioana C. Hone (, 858-552-0866 Ext. 303