Troubled Orexigen looks for a buyer, but will anyone want Contrave?

For Sale sign
Orexigen predicts between $18.1 million and $19.1 million in total third-quarter revenue.

Obesity drugmaker Orexigen may be game for a sale. The question is, is anyone game for a buy?

In an SEC filing on Monday, the drugmaker listed “attempting to pursue a merger or sale of the company” as actions it’s considering to make sure it meets its debt requirements; it could find itself in hot water with senior note holders if net product sales for fiscal 2017 come in below $100 million.

Considering that net product sales registered at $42.3 million for the first six months of the year, that could be an issue. The California company, which markets weight-loss med Contrave, projects between $18.1 million and $19.1 million in total third-quarter revenue, and if that prediction is correct, it’ll put the company in dire need of a hefty fourth quarter.

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Whether a buy can bail it out, though, depends on whether anyone’s willing to bite, and it could be a tough sell. Contrave has failed to gain serious traction, and it’s not the only one: Rivals Qsymia from Vivus and Belviq, developed by Arena and now the property of Eisai, have also struggled mightily in the marketplace.

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With those performances in mind, it’ll take a lot to convince a potential buyer that it can turn the market around. After all, Orexigen’s already had one marketing partner walk away in Takeda, whose exit was potentially hastened by a data blunder from Orexigen’s CEO.  

Orexigen, though, has some other options on the table in the event that it can’t swing an M&A deal. It’s also attempting to secure additional financing, negotiating waivers or amendments with the holders of its secured notes, it said.