Orexigen Therapeutics is on the verge of FDA approval for its obesity drug, after several long years of delay and frustration. But despite its late-to-the-party status--it's the third weight-loss pill in a new generation of treatments--it may end up winning the popularity contest.
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.
When it comes to addressing the market, pharma has three P's, according to Eisai's Michael O'Brien: physician, payer and patient. And as VP of specialty marketing, O'Brien is looking to hit each of them in promoting the recently launched weight-loss drug Belviq.
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.
Vivus announced second-quarter losses much worse than anyone expected. It took the first public comments from incoming CEO Tony Zook to sustain hopes for a turnaround.
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 AMA's decision to classify obesity as a disease is a direct attempt to persuade biopharma companies to develop new therapies by making it harder for payers to decline coverage while applying pressure on the FDA to approve more drugs faster. And that could provide a serious incentive for the obesity therapies already in development while making the preclinical work in the field more attractive to Big Pharma companies--which have largely avoided the field after witnessing repeated marketing debacles for unsafe meds. Read more >>
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.