Pliant Therapeutics Appoints Minnie Kuo as Chief Development Officer

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pliant Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLRX), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of fibrosis, today announced the appointment of Ms. Minnie Kuo as Chief Development Officer. Ms. Kuo will oversee all aspects of the Company’s nonclinical and clinical development activities.

“Minnie is an accomplished biopharmaceutical leader who brings extensive clinical development and cross-functional portfolio management experience to Pliant,” said Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Pliant. “Minnie’s successful track record of global clinical trial strategy development and execution along with her experience in the areas of inflammatory and oncology will be critically important to our success as a late-stage clinical organization. I look forward to Minnie sharing her insights and experiences with the rest of the leadership team.”

Ms. Kuo added, “Pliant has built a broad portfolio of drug candidates with the potential to improve the lives of patients with a variety of fibrotic diseases. I am excited to join a team that shares my passion for delivering innovative new medicines to patients in areas of unmet medical need.”

Ms. Kuo is an experienced biotechnology and pharmaceutical executive with more than 20 years of multinational clinical development experience across various therapeutic areas including respiratory, oncology, neurodegenerative and inflammatory. Prior to joining Pliant, Ms. Kuo held roles of increasing responsibilities at Vir Biotechnology, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Translational and Clinical Development Operations. In this role, Ms. Kuo served as the operational officer to the Chief Medical Officer, overseeing business operations, clinical operations, and organizational planning across the entire clinical portfolio. Prior to Vir, Ms. Kuo held senior clinical operations roles at Nektar Therapeutics and Gilead Sciences. At Gilead, she oversaw the strategic direction of multiple compounds and indications within the company’s inflammation and hepatic portfolios. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kuo held global project management and clinical study management roles at the clinical research organization ICON and at Roche/ Genentech. Ms. Kuo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry and healthcare from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Science degree in organizational development from the University of San Francisco.

About Pliant Therapeutics, Inc.

Pliant Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapies for the treatment of fibrosis. Pliant’s lead product candidate, bexotegrast (PLN-74809), is an oral, small molecule, dual selective inhibitor of αvß6 and αvß1 integrins that is in development in the lead indications for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, and primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC. Bexotegrast has received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in IPF and PSC and Orphan Drug Designation from the European Medicines Agency in IPF and PSC. Pliant has initiated BEACON-IPF, a Phase 2b trial of bexotegrast in IPF. Pliant has also developed PLN-1474, a small molecule, selective inhibitor of αvß1 integrin for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH with liver fibrosis. Pliant has initiated a Phase 1 study for its third clinical program, PLN-101095, a small molecule, dual-selective inhibitor of αvß8 and αvß1 integrins, that is being developed for the treatment of solid tumors. In addition to clinical stage programs, Pliant currently has a preclinical program targeting muscular dystrophies. For additional information, please visit: Follow us on social media Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

Inducement Grant Under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

In connection with the commencement of Ms. Kuo’s employment with the Company on September 14, 2023 (the “Grant Date”), the Company granted her non-statutory stock options to purchase an aggregate of 150,000 shares of Company common stock (the “Inducement Grant”). The Inducement Grant has been granted outside of the Company’s 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”) but remains subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan. The Inducement Grant was granted as an inducement material to Ms. Kuo entering into employment with the Company in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The Inducement Grant has an exercise price per share that is equal to the closing price of the Company’s common stock on the Grant Date. The Inducement Grant will vest over a four-year period, with 25% of the shares vesting on the one-year anniversary of Ms. Kuo’s start date, and thereafter the remainder of the shares vest in 36 equal monthly installments, subject to Ms. Kuo’s continued employment with the Company through the applicable vesting dates.

Investor and Media Contact:

Christopher Keenan
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Pliant Therapeutics, Inc.

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