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.
More than two years after Orexigen began a forced march back through a $100 million Phase III study for its weight drug Contrave, the biotech is back with the news that it scored the positive interim results it needs for a return trip to the FDA. And the drug developer says it can look ahead to a potential approval as early as June, 2014.
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.
A stockbroker who took to his Facebook page to sound off in reaction to a critical online report last year regarding Arena Pharmaceuticals has been fined $5,000 for the outburst via social media.
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.