PALO ALTO, Calif., May 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCRX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative therapeutics for orphan liver disease, announced today its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014. Net loss for the period was $4.1 million, including net loss from continuing operations of $5.2 million offset by a $1.1 million net income from discontinued operations, compared to a net loss of $0.7 million in the same period of 2013. As of March 31, 2013, Ocera had cash, cash equivalents and investments of $43.1 million. Ocera Clinical Trial Update During the first quarter, Ocera initiated patient enrollment in its "Stop HE" Phase 2b study of OCR-002 for the treatment of acute hepatic encephalopathy (HE). This study is a placebo-controlled, double blind trial evaluating the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of OCR-002, or ornithine phenylacetate, in hospitalized patients with liver cirrhosis and an acute episode of HE. "We are excited to be enrolling patients in our trial," said Linda Grais, M.D., chief executive officer of Ocera. "While it is still very early, we are encouraged by what we are seeing in response to our revised protocol and the increase in the number of randomized patients." Ocera First Quarter Financial Results On July 15, 2013, Ocera Therapeutics, Inc., a private company (Private Ocera), consummated a reverse merger with Tranzyme, Inc. The resulting public entity became Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. As private Ocera was the accounting acquirer, the Company's financial statements with respect to periods prior to the closing of the merger reflect only the financial statements of Private Ocera. Upon the restructuring of Tranzyme Pharma Inc. and disposal of related assets, the operations and cash flows of this component were eliminated from ongoing operations of the Company. As a result, Ocera has classified the results of operations of Tranzyme Pharma Inc. and related restructuring costs as net loss from discontinued operations and the assets and liabilities as assets and liabilities of discontinued operations. In December 2013, Ocera executed an agreement to transfer ownership of certain equipment and tangible materials, and to grant a license to its intellectual property rights, related to its Macrocylic Template Chemistry (MATCH™) discovery platform in exchange for $4.0 million. As a result of completing the transfer of these rights and related assets during the first quarter, Ocera reported net income from discontinued operations of $1.1 million.