Eisai broadens marketing deal for Arena's weight-loss drug

Eisai has signed on for a bigger role in launching Arena Pharamceuticals' weight-loss drug Lorqess. The Japanese drugmaker already was on board to roll out the drug--which still awaits final FDA approval--in the United States. Now, it's ready to take Lorqess to market in most of North and South America.

Under the expanded marketing deal, Arena gets an up-front payment, plus additional payments if regulatory and development milestones are hit in the new territories. Eisai is also on the hook for increased payments based on net sales in the U.S. as well as in the new territories.

The U.S. launch hinges, of course, on that final FDA nod. An advisory panel supported approval on Friday with an 18-4 vote, but the agency could reject that advice. The FDA also could apply label restrictions that would complicate its launch. The decision is expected in early summer.

Once approval is in hand, Arena will manufacture the drug at a plant in Switzerland, and then sell the finished product to Eisai for marketing and distribution. "Obesity is a condition that transcends geographic boundaries," Eisai CEO Lonnel Coats pointed out in a statement.

- see the companies' statement
- read the PharmaBiz story