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Targacept, Inc. (TRGT)'s Chief Executive deBethizy Steps Down in Shake-Up


6/4/2012 8:02:53 AM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Targacept Inc. (TRGT) today announced management changes that include the formation of an Office of the Chairman led by Mark Skaletsky, Chairman of Targacept’s Board of Directors. The Office of the Chairman will assume the responsibilities of J. Donald deBethizy, Ph.D., who is stepping down as President and Chief Executive Officer and has resigned from Targacept’s Board of Directors. Dr. deBethizy will assist in the transition, serving as special advisor to Mr. Skaletsky. A search for a new chief executive officer will begin immediately.

“Targacept’s Board of Directors has created the Office of the Chairman to guide the Company’s strategic direction, resource allocation and pipeline development,” said Mr. Skaletsky. “The three executives appointed to the Office bring substantial business, financial, legal and industry expertise, and the Board feels that they comprise an excellent team to lead Targacept at this time.”

“On behalf of the Board and the entire Targacept team, I want to recognize Don for his vision, leadership and unparalleled passion that guided Targacept's inception and evolution. He has been instrumental in Targacept’s many business and scientific accomplishments, and we thank him,” added Skaletsky.

“I am proud of what we have built at Targacept over the years and continue to believe strongly that the company will do great things,” said Dr. deBethizy. “It has been an honor to have worked with such high caliber people during my tenure. While I have decided to step down for personal considerations, I leave Targacept well positioned with a talented management team and workforce, diverse Phase 2 first-in-class product candidates, well developed science and a strong balance sheet. Targacept is in good hands.”

In addition to Mr. Skaletsky, the members of Targacept’s new Office of the Chairman are:

• Jeffrey P. Brennan, Senior Vice President, Business and Commercial Development and Chief Business Officer of Targacept;

• Alan A. Musso, C.P.A., C.M.A., Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Targacept; and

• Peter A. Zorn, Esq., Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary of Targacept.

About Targacept

Targacept is developing a diverse pipeline of innovative NNR Therapeutics™ for difficult-to-treat diseases and disorders of the nervous system. NNR Therapeutics selectively modulate the activity of specific neuronal nicotinic receptors, unique proteins that regulate vital biological functions that are impaired in various disease states. Targacept's clinical pipeline includes multiple Phase 2 product candidates, all representing first-in-class opportunities. Targacept leverages its scientific leadership and proprietary drug discovery platform Pentad™ to fuel its pipeline and attract significant collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies. For more information, please visit www.targacept.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes “forward-looking statements” made under the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements, other than statements of historical fact, regarding without limitation Targacept’s plans, expectations or future operations, financial position, revenues, costs or expenses. Actual results, performance or experience may differ materially from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement as a result of various important factors, including without limitation Targacept’s critical accounting policies and risks and uncertainties relating to: Targacept’s ability to manage any impact of the departure of Dr. deBethizy and its workforce reduction announced in April 2012 on its operations and corporate culture; the conduct and results of clinical trials and non-clinical studies and assessments of Targacept’s product candidates, including the performance of third parties engaged to execute such trials, studies and assessments, delays resulting from any changes to the applicable protocols and difficulties or delays in the completion of subject enrollment or data analysis; whether positive findings from completed clinical trials of TC-5619 will be replicated in any ongoing or future clinical trials; Targacept’s dependence on the success of its collaboration with AstraZeneca focused in cognitive disorders; the impact of AstraZeneca’s restructuring initiatives in neuroscience research and development announced in February 2012 on its plans to progress the development of AZD1446 or on any future development of AZD3480; Targacept’s ability to protect its intellectual property; and the timing and success of submission, acceptance and approval of regulatory filings. Risks and uncertainties that Targacept faces are described in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” in Targacept’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other filings that it makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of the risks and uncertainties, the results or events indicated by the forward-looking statements may not occur. Targacept cautions you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement.

In addition, any forward-looking statement in this press release represents Targacept’s views only as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Targacept disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required by applicable law.

NNR Therapeutics™, Pentad™ and Building Health, Restoring Independence® are trademarks or service marks of Targacept, Inc. Any other service marks, trademarks and trade names appearing in this press release are the properties of their respective owners.

Contact:

Targacept, Inc.

Alan Musso, 336-480-2186

SVP, Finance and Administration and CFO

alan.musso@targacept.com

or

Linnden Communications

Michelle Linn, 508-362-3087

linnmich@comcast.net


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