SINGAPORE-- Ildong Pharmaceuticals said South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has granted approval for it to market the Arena Pharmaceuticals weight-loss drug, Belviq.
With a marketing push from partner Eisai behind it, Arena Pharmaceuticals more than doubled the revenue it earned from weight-loss drug Belviq in the last quarter but reported a Q3 loss of $10.7 million, or $0.05 per share.
The Japanese drugmaker Eisai, which is partnered with Arena Pharmaceuticals on the weight-loss pill Belviq, plans to add another 200 contract sales reps to its team.
Japanese drugmaker Eisai, which is partnered with Arena Pharmaceuticals on the weight-loss pill Belviq, plans to add another 200 contract sales reps to its team. On top of a new television ad push begun last month, the sales-force expansion is a one-two punch aimed at keeping prescription trends on the upswing.
Both Vivus and Arena marketing partner Eisai have partnered with healthcare benefits provider Aetna, which will integrate rival obesity drugs Qsymia and Belviq into a weight-loss lifestyle pilot program.
Eisai gave Arena Pharmaceuticals' obesity drug Belviq another vote of confidence. The Japanese drugmaker, already marketing the drug in the U.S., signed up to promote it in most other global markets, too. And it gave Arena a $60 million up-front payment to seal the deal.
Analysts promised a battle of obesity drugs between Arena's Belviq and Vivus' Qsymia. But in marketing partner Eisai, Arena has a weapon Vivus lacks--and that weapon is about to get bigger. The Japanese company plans to add more than 200 sales reps to its army by December, doubling its size since the drug hit the market this June.
Vivus says its new diet drug Qsymia is now available in 8,000 retail pharmacies, putting it closer to patients. Arena Pharmaceuticals' Belviq is finally on the market, and scripts are coming in. But this new generation of weight-loss pills still faces an uphill climb--despite the tantalizing size of the market.
The long-awaited battle between two weight loss drugs is ready to begin. With its launch for Belviq delayed by the DEA, Arena has had to sit back and watch competitor Vivus pass it by with its own weight-loss drug. Now, nearly a year after the FDA cleared Belviq for approval, investors will get the chance to see if it can outperform its underwhelming competitor, Qsymia.
The DEA has made its decision on Belviq, the weight-loss drug that's been sitting on Arena's launching pad since its FDA approval last June. Belviq is now officially a Schedule IV controlled substance, and Arena can fire up its engines for a launch next month.