Roberto Bellini appointed President and CEO of BELLUS Health

Roberto Bellini appointed President and CEO of BELLUS Health - Francesco Bellini to remain as Chairman of the Board; Charles Cavell appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board
MONTREAL, Dec. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Board of Directors of BELLUS Health Inc. (the "Company") (TSX: BLU) is pleased to announce that Mr. Roberto Bellini has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of BELLUS Health, effective January 1, 2010. Mr. Bellini graduated from McGill University in Biochemistry and was most recently, Vice President, Business Development at BELLUS Health. He has 8 years of experience with the Company's products, science, and the industry in which it operates. This experience provides him with a unique ability and the insight required to move the Company forward in its next phase of development.

As previously announced at the annual general meeting of shareholders in June 2009, Dr. Francesco Bellini is stepping down as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company effective December 31, 2009. Dr. Bellini will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors and will also provide ongoing advisory services to the Company, thus enabling BELLUS Health to continue to benefit from his vast expertise and knowledge of the health sciences and the pharmaceutical industries.

"I am honoured by this appointment by the Board and wish to thank them for their support and for this opportunity. Through this expanded role, and together with the Company's leadership team and its employees, I look forward to contributing to the Company's success by building on its core strengths to move the Company's innovative products forward, and to building significant shareholder value," said Roberto Bellini.

"I wish to thank the Board of Directors for their support during my years as Chief Executive Officer," said Dr. Bellini. "It has truly been an extraordinary journey and the Company has evolved into a lean and late-stage biopharmaceutical company with unique product candidates. I am confident that the skills and energy that Roberto will bring to the Company, coupled with the experience of the Board and the support from strong shareholders will help lead BELLUS Health to future success," he concluded.

The Board is also pleased to announce that Mr. Charles Cavell, who was elected to the BELLUS Health Board of Directors at the annual general meeting in June of this year, has agreed to assume the responsibility of Deputy Chairman, effective January 1, 2010. As former President and CEO of Quebecor World Inc., one of the world's largest commercial print media services companies, Mr. Cavell brings years of operational and public company experience to the Board and to BELLUS Health's executive management. Mr. Cavell holds a degree in Economics from Mount Allison University, and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD Lausanne, formerly IMI Geneva) in Switzerland. He serves on the Boards of several corporate, educational, and charitable institutions.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, shareholders, and employees of BELLUS Health, I would like to thank Dr. Bellini for his years of outstanding leadership and for his remarkable contribution to this Company. His vision, tenacity, and relentless hard work continue to inspire all who know him," said Charles Cavell. "In addition, I feel very privileged to have the trust and confidence of the Board as I take on these added responsibilities. I look forward to working with Roberto Bellini and I am delighted that Dr. Bellini has agreed to continue to contribute to the future success of the company."

About BELLUS Health

BELLUS Health is a global health company focused on the development and commercialization of products to provide innovative health solutions to address critical unmet medical needs.

To contact BELLUS Health

For additional information on BELLUS Health and its drug development programs, please call the Canada and United States toll-free number 1 877 680 4500 or visit the Web Site at

Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are beyond BELLUS Health Inc.'s control. Such risks include but are not limited to: the impact of general economic conditions, general conditions in the pharmaceutical and/or nutraceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which the BELLUS Health Group does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation, that actual results may vary once the final and quality-controlled verification of data and analyses has been completed, as well as other risks disclosed in public filings of BELLUS Health Inc. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader should not place undue reliance, if any, on any forward-looking statements included in this news release. These statements speak only as of the date made and BELLUS Health Inc. is under no obligation and disavows any intention to update or revise such statements as a result of any event, circumstances or otherwise, unless required by applicable legislation or regulation. Please see the Annual Information Form of BELLUS Health Inc. for further risk factors that might affect the BELLUS Health Group and its business.

For further information: Michelle Stein, Specialist, Corporate Communications, (450) 680-4573, [email protected]