SAN DIEGO, Nov. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCRX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative therapeutics for orphan liver disease, announced today that it has obtained commitments to purchase common stock and warrants in a private placement. Gross proceeds from the private placement are expected to be $28 million before deducting fees and expenses. Ocera intends to use the net proceeds primarily to advance the clinical and nonclinical development of OCR-002, ornithine phenylacetate, for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy. Ocera is planning to enroll patients in a Phase 2b study of the IV form of OCR-002 later this year, and to begin work on the oral form of OCR-002 in 2014. The financing was led by new investors Vivo Capital and Venrock with additional participation from institutional investors Deerfield, Great Point Partners LLC, funds managed by QVT Financial LP, RA Capital Management, InterWest Partners and Three Arch Opportunity Fund. "We believe that Ocera's clinical candidate, OCR-002, has the potential to transform acute care treatment of hepatic encephalopathy," said Chen Yu, M.D., M.B.A., managing partner at Vivo Capital. "The clinical leadership at Ocera is very experienced and well positioned to advance this compound through clinical studies." Ocera has entered into a securities purchase agreement with the investors pursuant to which the Company will sell units consisting of an aggregate of 3,940,887 shares of its common stock and warrants to purchase up to 788,177 additional shares of common stock. Each unit, consisting of one share of common stock and a warrant to purchase 0.2 of a share of common stock, will be sold for a purchase price of $7.11. The warrants will be exercisable at $7.66 per share. Upon closing of the transaction, the warrants will be immediately exercisable and will expire five years from the date of issuance.