SAN DIEGO, Sept. 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocera Therapeutics (Nasdaq:OCRX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on acute and chronic orphan liver diseases, today announced that Jeryl L. Hilleman has been appointed chief financial officer effective September 3, 2013. Ms. Hilleman will replace Dana McGowan who will continue with the company during a transition period in which the company plans to move its headquarters to Northern California. "I am very pleased that an executive with Jeri's skills, global experience and proven expertise is joining our senior management team," said Linda Grais, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Ocera. "Her extensive public company experience, both in and outside of the biotech industry, combined with her operational leadership, will be invaluable as we execute on our immediate business priority to initiate a Phase 2b clinical trial of OCR-002 for the treatment of acute hepatic encephalopathy. I would also like to thank Dana McGowan for her many contributions and years of dedication to Ocera." "Ocera has the potential to transform both acute and chronic treatment of critical liver conditions, with significant potential to save lives," said Jeri Hilleman. "The opportunity to join Ocera to help realize this potential is exciting and I'm pleased to be joining such a knowledgeable team." Ms. Hilleman has over two decades experience as CFO of both private and public companies, including taking four companies public. Most recently, Ms. Hilleman has provided independent financial and strategic consulting for biotech and cleantech companies. From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Hilleman served as CFO of Amyris, Inc., a multi-national, renewable products company based in California and Brazil. Prior to Amyris, Ms. Hilleman served as CFO of Symyx Technologies, a public company selling instruments, software and research services to pharmaceutical and chemical companies, and led the finance function at two public biotechnology companies, Geron Corporation and Cytel Corporation. Ms. Hilleman is also a member of the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of Xenoport (Nasdaq:XNPT). Ms. Hilleman holds an A.B. from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton Graduate School of Business.