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Arena Eyes Marketer for Obesity Drug

Arena Eyes Marketer For Obesity Drug [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

From San Diego Union-Tribune (CA) (July 1, 2010)

July 01--San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals plans to make its obesity drug, lorcaserin, at a factory it owns in Switzerland, but it will have another company market and distribute it in the United States.

Arena is announcing today that it has made a deal with Eisai Inc., a New Jersey-based subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company, to commercialize lorcaserin in the United States.

"This is a very big transaction for us, representing over $1 billion," said Jack Lief, Arena’s chief executive.

Clinical trials indicate that lorcaserin helps people lose weight. The drug is awaiting FDA approval, with a decision expected in October, Lief said.

If approved, Eisai will have the exclusive right to sell lorcaserin in the U.S. and will give Arena 31.5 to 36.5 percent of net sales to pay for costs.

Arena is unusual among San Diego biotech companies in that it will manufacture the drug it invented, and maintain control of its intellectual property.

Other companies often enter into partnerships or outright sales with larger companies to pay for final testing and marketing.

Eisai is a good fit, Lief said, because it already markets Aciphex, a drug that treats patients with GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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Posted: July 2010