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Optimer Pharmaceuticals' Board of Directors Appoints Board Chairman, Dr. Henry McKinnell, Chief Executive Officer

Optimer Pharmaceuticals' Board of Directors Appoints Board Chairman, Dr. Henry
                      McKinnell, Chief Executive Officer

COMPANY TO EXPLORE STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES

PR Newswire

JERSEY CITY, N.J., Feb. 27, 2013

JERSEY CITY, N.J., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The Board of Directors of
Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR) (the "Company" or "Optimer") today
announced the appointment of its Chairman, Dr.Henry McKinnell, as Chief
Executive Officer. Dr. McKinnell was associated with Pfizer Inc., from 1971
until his retirement in 2007, including serving as Pfizer's Chief Executive
Officer and Chairman from 2001 to 2006. The Board of Directors also appointed
Mark Auerbach, who has served as an Optimer Director since June 2005, as Lead
Independent Director.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090413/LA97352LOGO)

The Board also announced that it has commenced a process to explore a full
range of strategic alternatives. In connection with this process, the Company
has engaged J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners as its financial advisers and
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as its legal adviser. The Board cautioned that there
can be no assurance that the strategic review will result in any action and
that there would be no further comment on the process until the review is
completed.

Dr. McKinnell will replace Pedro Lichtinger, who has served as Optimer's
President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2010, for the duration of the
strategic review process. Mr. Lichtinger agreed to step down as President,
Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, in
connection with the announced change in management. Kurt Hartman also agreed
to step down and Meredith Schaum has been appointed to replace him as General
Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of the Company. The Independent
Directors recommended to the Board that management changes were appropriate
following their review of prior compliance, record keeping and
conflict-of-interest issues observed during the review, including issues
arising from the conduct of Optimer personnel who were the subject of the
changes in management and leadership announced in April 2012. The previously
disclosed investigations of these issues by the relevant U.S. authorities are
ongoing and the Company continues to cooperate with those authorities.

Dr. McKinnell stated, "While the Board is conducting a comprehensive review of
strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, I look forward to
working with the management team to continue to increase the utilization of
DIFICID®."

As scheduled, the Company will report its fourth quarter and year-end 2012
results on February 28th. The Company will report gross product sales of $21.3
million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and of $74.4 million for the year ended
December 31, 2012, as announced in January. The Company will report net
income of $0.02per share, on a basic and diluted basis, for the fourth
quarter of 2012 and net loss of $0.79per share, on both a basic and diluted
basis, for the year ended December 31, 2012.

The Board announced that in conjunction with the review of strategic
alternatives, the Company has adopted a Rights Plan, expiring on February 15,
2014. The Rights Plan is designed to protect shareholder rights while the
strategic review is being conducted. In adopting the Rights Plan, the Board
does not presently intend to extend the plan beyond February 15, 2014 without
seeking the approval of the Company's shareholders. Additional information
regarding the terms and conditions of the Plan are being filed on a Current
Report on Form 8-K.

Brief Biography of Dr. McKinnell
Dr. McKinnell was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Optimer in April 2012
and has served as a director since January 2011. From 1971 until his
retirement in February 2007, Dr. McKinnell was associated with Pfizer Inc.,
including serving as Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer from January 2001 to
July 2006 and Chairman of its Board from May 2001 until December 2006. Dr.
McKinnell currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Moody's Corporation
and Chairman of the Board of the Accordia Global Health Foundation. He is
Chairman Emeritus of the Connecticut Science Center and is a member of the
Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa. Dr. McKinnell
previously served as director of ExxonMobil Corporation from 2002 to 2007 and
John Wiley & Sons from 1996 to 2005. Dr. McKinnell holds a Bachelor's Degree
in business from the University of British Columbia, and M.B.A. and Ph.D.
degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

About Optimer Pharmaceuticals
Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on
developing and commercializing innovative hospital specialty products that
have a positive impact on society. Optimer developed DIFICID (fidaxomicin)
tablets, an FDA-approved macrolide antibacterial drug for the treatment of
Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) in adults 18 years of age and
older and is commercializing DIFICID in the U.S. and Canada. Optimer also
received marketing authorization for fidaxomicin tablets in the European
Union, where its partner, Astellas Pharma Europe, is commercializing
fidaxomicin under the trade name DIFICLIR™. The Company is exploring marketing
authorization in other parts of the world where C. difficile has emerged as a
serious health problem. Additional information can be found at
http://www.optimerpharma.com.

Forward-looking Statements
Statements included in this press release that are not a description of
historical facts are forward-looking statements, including, without
limitation, statements related to the expected impact of Optimer's recent
personnel changes, Optimer's review of strategic alternatives including a
possible sale of the Company, Optimer's expected financial results for the
fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012, the implementation and impact
of Optimer's commercialization strategy, expansion of DIFICID sales or market
potential and the expected impact of Optimer's independent investigation and
previously disclosed cooperation with relevant U.S. authorities. Words such
as "expect," "anticipate," "will," "could," "would," "project," "intend,"
"plan," "believe," "predict," "estimate," "should," "may," "potential,"
"continue," "ongoing" or variations of such words and similar expressions are
intended to identify forward-looking statements. The inclusion of
forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by
Optimer that any of its plans will be achieved. These forward-looking
statements are based on management's expectations on the date of this release.
Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this release due
to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Optimer's business including,
without limitation, risks relating to: Optimer's ability to continue driving
adoption and use of DIFICID, the implementation and success of DIFICID growth
initiatives and entry into new markets, whether healthcare professionals will
prescribe DIFICID, the extent to which DIFICID receives reimbursement coverage
from healthcare payors and government agencies, the extent to which DIFICID
will be accepted on additional hospital formularies and the timing of hospital
formulary decisions, Optimer's ability to successfully coordinate
commercialization efforts with Cubist Pharmaceuticals under its co-promotion
agreement, whether Optimer will be able to realize expected benefits under its
co-promotion agreement with Cubist and its collaboration agreements with other
partners, the possibility of alternative means of preventing or treating CDAD
impacting adoption and sales of DIFICID, Optimer's ability, through its
third-party manufacturers and logistics providers, to maintain a sufficient
supply of DIFICID to meet demand, the effects of changes in Optimer's
management, the outcome of Optimer's review of strategic alternatives
including a possible sale of the Company, the potential for lawsuits and
enforcement proceedings related to the previously disclosed investigations by
U.S. authorities and other risks detailed in Optimer's filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as
of the date of this release, and Optimer undertakes no obligation to update or
revise these statements, except as may be required by law.

Contacts
Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
David Walsey, Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
(858) 964-3418

SOURCE Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Website: http://www.optimerpharma.com
 
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