Orexigen CFO steps aside in wake of FDA rejection, restructuring

This is a tough time to be the chief financial officer of an obesity drug developer. San Diego-based Orexigen ($OREX) announced this morning that CFO Graham Cooper will be on his way out the revolving door once year-end results are finished for 2010.

The developer, which recently laid off 40 percent of its staff in an effort to remain financially viable as it tries to tackle a new safety trial of its troubled obesity drug Contrave, says that Cooper has been commuting from the Bay Area for the past four years.

Arena Pharmaceuticals said less than a week ago that CFO Robert Hoffman was on his way to a new job in the healthcare industry. A 13-year veteran of the company, Hoffman had been CFO for five years and had a big role in orchestrating the restructuring of the company after the FDA rejected its application for lorcaserin. Arena went on to cut 66 staffers recently as it tries to respond to the agency's demand for new data, hoping it can avoid being forced to mount a new study for the drug.

Orexigen says that Jay Hagan, senior vice president, corporate development and strategy, will be acting-CFO, and it will transition the financial operation responsibilities to him.

- here's the Orexigen press release