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April 18, 2023

Ocelot Bio Appoints Lise Kjems, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Kjems brings over 20 years of experience leading impactful clinical development teams and programs


Dr. Kjems succeeds Stan Bukofzer, M.D., following his retirement; Dr. Bukofzer will continue to serve as Strategic Advisor to Company


SAN DIEGO, CALIF. – (April 18, 2023) – Ocelot Bio, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative therapeutics to treat complications of end-stage liver disease (ESLD), today announced that Lise Kjems, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the organization as chief medical officer. Dr. Kjems will oversee the clinical development efforts for Ocelot Bio’s lead candidate, OCE-205, for the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome with acute kidney injury (HRS-AKI) and ascites. Dr. Kjems succeeds founding chief scientific & medical officer, Stan Bukofzer, M.D., who will provide continued guidance to Ocelot Bio as a Strategic Advisor.  


“Dr. Bukofzer has played a pivotal role in the advancement of OCE-205 for the treatment of ESLD and in advancing OCE-205 toward the current Phase 2 clinical studies, and I am grateful for his many contributions to the company,” said Katherine Vega Stultz, chief executive officer at Ocelot Bio. “I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Kjems to the role of chief medical officer and am confident that her depth of experience leading successful clinical programs will add incredible value to the Ocelot Bio team. She will serve an important role at Ocelot Bio, and I look forward to what we will accomplish together in the coming years.”


Dr. Kjems holds more than 20 years of experience in R&D across a breadth of therapeutic categories, including liver disease, endocrinology, rare disease, autoimmune, gastrointestinal and infectious disease. She has a proven track record in leading high performing teams and delivering on complex programs, with deep experience in bringing products from first-in-human studies through to approval.


Prior to joining Ocelot Bio, Dr. Kjems was the chief medical officer at Cyclo Therapeutics where she led its global program evaluating Trappsol® Cyclo™ in Alzheimer’s and rare disease. Earlier in her career, Dr. Kjems was essential in bringing Albireo Pharma’s drug Bylvay® through its Phase 3 program in progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) to FDA and EMA approvals, as well as launching pivotal Phase 3 trials for Bylvay in biliary atresia and Alagille syndrome. She has also held various positions of increasing responsibility at Aldeyra Therapeutics, Intarcia Therapeutics, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis.


Dr. Kjems received her M.D. and her Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Copenhagen Medical Faculty Denmark. She was an invited guest research fellow at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, and an industrial research fellow at Novo Nordisk A/S Bagsvaerd Denmark & University of Copenhagen.


“I am excited by the unique opportunity at Ocelot Bio to redefine the treatment paradigm in end-stage liver disease and the potential to make a meaningful impact on patients in need of new therapeutic options,” said Dr. Kjems. “The scientific foundation and the progress made thus far at Ocelot Bio to address a profound unmet medical need in growing patient populations is tremendous, and the company is well underway to characterize the potential for OCE-205 as a differentiated therapeutic with a strong efficacy, safety and tolerability profile. I am proud to join this team and help drive our mission forward.”


About Ocelot Bio

Ocelot Bio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative therapeutics designed to significantly improve outcomes for patients with liver disease. The company’s lead clinical candidate, OCE-205, is a peptide therapeutic with a mechanism of action designed to selectively target complications of portal hypertension, such as hepatorenal syndrome with acute kidney injury (HRS-AKI), a serious and life-threatening consequence of end-stage liver disease (ESLD). The company was founded by leading experts in peptide therapeutic development and is backed by a strong syndicate of investors including Venrock, RA Capital Management and Vivo Capital. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Christy Curran

Sam Brown, Inc.

(615) 414-8668

Patients can’t wait and neither will we.

Our passion for improving the lives of people with severe complications of liver disease is the foundation of our company.

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