Eisai and Arena Pharmaceuticals Announce FDA Acceptance of New Drug Application for Extended Release Formulation of Lorcaserin

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. and SAN DIEGO, Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing the New Drug Application (NDA) for an extended release formulation of lorcaserin. If approved, the extended release formulation will offer patients a chronic weight management treatment in a once-daily dosing option.

Lorcaserin (sold under the brand name BELVIQ®) is currently approved as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes. It is not known if BELVIQ is safe and effective when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight loss products, nor is it known if BELVIQ changes the risk of heart problems or stroke, or death due to heart problems or stroke.

"The filing of this application by the FDA means they have made a threshold determination that it is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review," said Craig M. Audet, Ph.D., Arena's Senior Vice President of Operations & Head of Global Regulatory Affairs.  "This extended release formulation has the potential to offer patients once-daily dosing of lorcaserin, which can be an important addition to their chronic weight management plan."

The regulatory filing for the extended release formulation is based on the results of two Phase 1 registrational clinical trials evaluating bioequivalence of a once-daily, 20 mg extended release formulation of lorcaserin, as compared to the currently approved, twice-daily 10 mg  immediate release formulation. If approved, the extended release formulation is expected to be marketed as BELVIQ XR®, which is the brand name conditionally approved by the FDA.

"The dramatic rise in obesity has major consequences for public health," said Frank Ciriello, President, Eisai Global Neurology Business Unit and Established Products. "If approved, this once-a-day option will provide another choice for appropriate patients who find it difficult to lose weight through diet and exercise alone."

Lorcaserin is believed to decrease food consumption and promote satiety by selectively activating the serotonin 2C receptors in the brain.

The extended release formulation of lorcaserin is investigational and not approved by any regulatory agency.

About BELVIQ® (lorcaserin HCl) CIV

Immediate-release lorcaserin is approved under the brand name BELVIQ for weight management by the FDA and the Ministry of Food and Drug Substances in South Korea. Eisai Inc. and Ildong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., market and distribute BELVIQ in the United States and South Korea, respectively, and Arena manufactures and supplies the finished commercial product from its facility inSwitzerland.

Important Safety Information

Contraindication

  • BELVIQ should not be taken during pregnancy or by women who are planning to become pregnant.

Warnings and Precautions

  • BELVIQ is a serotonergic drug. The development of potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like reactions have been reported during use of serotonergic drugs, including, but not limited to, selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, bupropion, triptans, dietary supplements such as St. John's Wort and tryptophan, drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (including monoamine oxidase inhibitors), dextromethorphan, lithium, tramadol, antipsychotics or other dopamine antagonists, particularly when used in combination. Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome symptoms or NMS-like reactions, including agitation, hallucinations, coma, tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia, hyperreflexia, incoordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle rigidity. Treatment with BELVIQ and any concomitant serotonergic or antidopaminergic agents should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur, and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
  • Patients should not take BELVIQ in combination with drugs that have been associated with valvular heart disease (e.g., cabergoline). In clinical trials, 2.4% of patients taking BELVIQ and 2.0% of patients taking placebo developed valvular regurgitation: none of these patients was symptomatic. BELVIQ should be used with caution in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Patients who develop signs and symptoms of valvular heart disease, including dyspnea, dependent edema, CHF, or a new cardiac murmur, should be evaluated and discontinuation of BELVIQ should be considered.
  • Impairment in attention, memory, somnolence, confusion, and fatigue, have been reported in patients taking BELVIQ. Patients should not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how BELVIQ affects them.
  • The recommended dose of 10 mg twice daily should not be exceeded, as higher doses may cause euphoria, hallucination, and dissociation. Monitor patients for the development or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and/or any changes in mood. Discontinue BELVIQ in patients who develop suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Weight loss may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are being treated with antidiabetic medications, so measurement of blood sugar levels before and during treatment with BELVIQ is recommended. Decreases in doses of antidiabetic medications or changes in medication regimen should be considered.
  • Men who experience priapism should immediately discontinue BELVIQ and seek emergency medical attention. BELVIQ should be used with caution with erectile dysfunction medications. BELVIQ should be used with caution in men who have conditions that might predispose them to priapism (e.g., sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia), or in men with anatomical deformation of the penis (e.g., angulation, cavernosal fibrosis, or Peyronie's disease).
  • Because BELVIQ may cause a slow heartbeat, it should be used with caution in patients with a history of bradycardia or heart block greater than first degree.
  • Consider monitoring for CBC changes, prolactin excess, and pulmonary hypertension.

Most Common Adverse Reactions

  • In patients without diabetes: headache (17%), dizziness (9%), fatigue (7%), nausea (8%), dry mouth (5%), and constipation (6%).
  • In patients with diabetes: hypoglycemia (29%), headache (15%), back pain (12%), cough (8%), and fatigue (7%).

Nursing Mothers

  • BELVIQ should not be taken by women who are nursing.

BELVIQ® is a federally controlled substance (CIV) because it may be abused or lead to drug dependence.

For more information about BELVIQ, click here for the full Product Information or visit www.BELVIQ.com.

About Eisai Inc.

At Eisai Inc., human health care (hhc) is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families. As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., our passionate commitment to patient care is the driving force. We are a fully integrated pharmaceutical business with discovery, clinical, manufacturing and marketing capabilities. Our key areas of commercial focus include oncology and specialty care (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and metabolic disorders). To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us atwww.eisai.com/US

Eisai Inc. has affiliates that are part of a global product creation organization that includes R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as a global demand chain organization that includes manufacturing infrastructure in Maryland andNorth Carolina. Eisai's global areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; metabolic disorders; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction; and antibody-based programs.

About Arena Pharmaceuticals

Arena embraces the challenge of improving health by seeking to bring innovative medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors to patients. Arena's focus is discovering, developing and commercializing drugs to address unmet medical needs, and BELVIQ®(lorcaserin HCl) is Arena's first internally discovered drug approved for marketing. Arena has US operations located in San Diego,California, and operations outside of the United States, including its commercial manufacturing facility, located in Zofingen,Switzerland. For more information, visit Arena's website at www.arenapharm.com.

Arena Pharmaceuticals® and Arena® are registered service marks of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. BELVIQ® and BELVIQ XR® are registered trademarks of Arena Pharmaceuticals GmbH.

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