Vivus has never had a marketing partner for flailing obesity therapy Qsymia--and now, it's about to be one short for erectile dysfunction therapy Stendra, too. Last week, Endo's Auxilium Pharmaceuticals announced in a regulatory filing that it would be terminating its licensing pact--covering the U.S. and Canada--with the California drugmaker, with an end date of June 30.
Takeda has 900 reps behind Orexigen's Contrave--but is that investment worth it? Maybe not, RBC Capital Markets' Simos Simeonidis suggested recently in a note to investors. Vivus' Qsymia--with just 50 reps supporting the product--hauled in $14 million in Q3 revenue, compared with just $12.8 million for Contrave.
Nine hundred sales reps are out in the field promoting Orexigen's obesity med Contrave, thanks to the company's marketing partner, Takeda. But for what?
It's been more than 3 years since the FDA approved Vivus' obesity med Qsymia, but the company has yet to start up a required cardiovascular safety trial. And with sales disappointing and debt piling up, that's a problem.
Activist investor Carl Icahn is jumping into the biopharma fray once again, this time getting involved with struggling obesity drugmaker Vivus.
Presumably hands were shaken and lawyers and executives read the fine print, putting a collaboration on anti-obesity drug Contrave between Japan's Takeda Pharmaceuticals and San Diego-based Orexigen Therapeutics back on track after a tussle broke out in May over the termination of a trial that opened up other issues in the partnership.
With a trio of new obesity meds on the scene, some industry watchers expected the market to see some serious expansion. But development has been slow--much slower than Qsymia maker Vivus expected--and halving its rep tally is just one step the drugmaker is taking to help ease the pain.
Struggling Vivus is short on cash, and it's got a pricey cardiovascular outcomes trial looming in its future. Its fix? Pare down costs once again--or, in the words of RBC Capital Markets analyst Simos Simeonidis, "amputate a limb so that the patient may live."
An analysis by AdverseEvents shows the new generation of obesity meds are holding their own, safety-wise. Still, postmarketing data flag some serious cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric side effects that are worth monitoring, the healthcare informatics firm says.
Dieting and exercise to lose weight is more effective when done with support--and weight-loss drugmakers have taken that to heart in marketing their treatments. But according to a recent Journal of Public Policy & Marketing article, lifestyle support isn't enough. Drugmakers may want to look to their advertising pitches, too.