Orexigen (OREX) Announces That Tom Cannell Has Joined As Chief Commercial Officer

SAN DIEGO, March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX) today announced that Tom Cannell has joined as Chief Commercial Officer. As the Company prepares for global commercialization of Contrave® /Mysimba (naltrexone HCl / bupropion HCl extended release), Cannell will lead all aspects of Orexigen's global commercial strategy, assuming responsibilities previously held by Mark Booth. After successfully leading Orexigen's commercial effort through the U.S. launch of Contrave, Booth plans to leave Orexigen later this year to pursue opportunities closer to his home in Chicago.

Cannell joins Orexigen after 27 years at Merck where he held a variety of senior leadership roles.  He brings strong experience in global commercialization, consumer marketing, and sales operations and management. Recent assignments have included President of Merck Canada and Head of Marketing and Strategy for MSD Japan. Earlier he served in general manager roles for a U.S. sales division and as leader of a Merck business unit, managing a multi-billion dollar product portfolio and thousands of employees. He has strong consumer experience, having served as General Manager, New Commercial Model, U.S., where he designed and successfully piloted an innovative customer centric commercial model for Merck's U.S. business. Cannell holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University. He has also served in the U.S. Army Reserves (currently inactive) since 1987.

"We are thrilled to welcome Tom to Orexigen," said Mike Narachi, CEO of Orexigen. "The strong launch of Contrave in the United States and the recent approval of Mysimba in Europe provide Orexigen with valuable strategic options. We will benefit from Tom's international commercial experience and strong leadership qualifications as we advance our global partnering discussions and evaluate the opportunity to retain or exercise strategic commercial rights for Contrave or Mysimba."

Mark Booth, who has served as Chief Commercial Officer since 2009, will leave Orexigen later this year. In the interim, he will continue to work with Orexigen on several key projects, including helping assure the smooth transition of commercial responsibilities.

"Mark's contributions to Orexigen have been critical to the Company's success," Narachi continued. "We sincerely thank Mark for his commitment over the past 6 years, and are grateful for his service to the Company."

About Contrave and Mysimba

Contrave, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in September 2014, is indicated for use as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus or dyslipidemia). In Europe, the medicine was approved in March 2015 with the brand name Mysimba.

The exact neurochemical effects of Contrave leading to weight loss are not fully understood. Contrave has two components: naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, a relatively weak inhibitor of the neuronal reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Nonclinical studies suggest that naltrexone and bupropion have effects on two separate areas of the brain involved in the regulation of food intake: the hypothalamus (appetite regulatory center) and the mesolimbic dopamine circuit (reward system).

Four 56-week multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of Contrave in conjunction with lifestyle modification in 4,536 subjects randomized to Contrave or placebo. In these studies, the most common adverse reactions (?5 percent) seen in patients taking Contrave included nausea, constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, and diarrhea.

The clinical trial program also includes a double-blind, placebo-controlled cardiovascular outcomes trial known as the Light Study. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in overweight and obese adults with cardiovascular risk factors receiving Contrave. A second study, designed to address post-approval requirements in both Europe and the United States, is planned in order to further evaluate cardiovascular outcomes.
Further information can be found at http://www.orexigen.com/.

About Orexigen Therapeutics

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. Orexigen developed Contrave® (naltrexone HCl and bupropion HCl extended release), which is approved in the United States and is being commercialized there by the company's North American partner, Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In Europe the drug has been approved under the brand name MysimbaTM (naltrexone HCl/ bupropion HCl prolonged release). Orexigen's strategy for Contrave/Mysimba is to pursue marketing authorizations worldwide and pharmaceutical partnerships for global commercialization. Further information about the Company can be found at http://www.orexigen.com/.

Important Safety Information for Contrave (naltrexone HCl and bupropion HCl)

WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS; AND NEUROPSYCHIATRIC REACTIONS

SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

CONTRAVE is not approved for use in the treatment of major depressive disorder or other psychiatric disorders. CONTRAVE contains bupropion, the same active ingredient as some other antidepressant medications (including, but not limited to, WELLBUTRIN, WELLBUTRIN SR, WELLBUTRIN XL and APLENZIN). Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term trials. These trials did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in subjects over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in subjects aged 65 and older. In patients of all ages who are started on CONTRAVE, monitor closely for worsening, and for the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. CONTRAVE is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

NEUROPSYCHIATRIC REACTIONS IN PATIENTS TAKING BUPROPION FOR SMOKING CESSATION

Serious neuropsychiatric reactions have occurred in patients taking bupropion for smoking cessation. The majority of these reactions occurred during bupropion treatment, but some occurred in the context of discontinuing treatment. In many cases, a causal relationship to bupropion treatment is not certain, because depressed mood may be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. However, some of the cases occurred in patients taking bupropion who continued to smoke. Although CONTRAVE is not approved for smoking cessation, observe all patients for neuropsychiatric reactions. Instruct the patient to contact a healthcare provider if such reactions occur.

Contraindications: CONTRAVE is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension, seizure disorder, or current or prior diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia; in patients undergoing abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antiepileptic drugs; with use of other bupropion-containing products; for use with chronic opioids or opiate agonists (eg, methadone) or partial agonists (eg, buprenorphine) or acute opiate withdrawal; during/within 14 days following treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs); in patients with known allergy to any other component of CONTRAVEanaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported; in pregnancy.

Warnings and Precautions

Suicidal Behavior and Ideation: All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. Consider changing the therapeutic regimen or discontinuing in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, or mania, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Alert families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of above mentioned symptoms, as well as the emergence of suicidality, daily and to report such symptoms immediately. Prescriptions for CONTRAVE should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Suicide Risk in Smoking Cessation Treatment: CONTRAVE is not approved for smoking cessation treatment, but serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have been reported in patients taking bupropion for smoking cessation, including changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, aggression, anxiety and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric reactions. Instruct patients to contact a healthcare professional if such reactions occur.

Seizures: CONTRAVE can cause seizures. The risk of seizure is dose-related. Discontinue treatment and do not restart CONTRAVE in patients who experience a seizure. Use caution and consider the risk when prescribing CONTRAVE to patients with predisposing factors, clinical situations, and concomitant medications that may lower seizure threshold. Risk of seizure may be minimized by adhering to the recommended dosing schedule and avoiding co-administration with a high-fat meal.

Patients Receiving Opioid Analgesics: CONTRAVE should not be administered to patients receiving chronic opioids. Patients may be vulnerable to opioid overdose and/or precipitated opioid withdrawal.

Increase in Blood Pressure (BP) and Heart Rate (HR): CONTRAVE can cause an increase in systolic BP, diastolic BP, and/or resting HR. Monitor BP and HR especially in patients with cardiac or cerebrovascular disease and/or with controlled hypertension.

Allergic Reactions: Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions and symptoms suggestive of delayed hypersensitivity have been reported in clinical trials with bupropion, as well as rare spontaneous reports of erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and anaphylactic shock.

Hepatotoxicity: Cases of hepatitis, clinically significant liver dysfunction, and transient asymptomatic hepatic transaminase elevations have been observed with naltrexone exposure. Use of CONTRAVE should be discontinued in the event of symptoms/signs of acute hepatitis.

Activation of Mania: Prior to initiating CONTRAVE, screen patients for history of bipolar disorder and the presence of risk factors for bipolar disorder (eg, family history of bipolar disorder, suicide, or depression).

Angle-Closure Glaucoma: The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs, including bupropion, a component of CONTRAVE, may trigger an angle-closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.

Use of Antidiabetic Medications: Weight loss may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with insulin and/or insulin secretagogues (eg, sulfonylureas). Monitor blood glucose levels.

Adverse Reactions: Most common adverse reactions (5%) include: nausea (32.5%), constipation (19.2%), headache (17.6%), vomiting (10.7%), dizziness (9.9%), insomnia (9.2%), dry mouth (8.1%), and diarrhea (7.1%).

Drug Interactions: Increased risk of hypertensive reactions can occur when CONTRAVE is used concomitantly with MAOIs. Use caution and consider dose reduction of drugs metabolized by CYP2D6 when using with CONTRAVE. Avoid concomitant use with CYP2B6 inducers. Reduce CONTRAVE dose when taken with CYP2B6 inhibitors. Dose CONTRAVE with caution when used with drugs that lower seizure threshold. Use caution and monitor for CNS toxicity when using CONTRAVE concomitantly with dopaminergic drugs (levodopa and amantadine). CONTRAVE can cause false positive urine test results for amphetamines.

Indication

CONTRAVE is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (eg, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia)
Limitations of Use

The effect of CONTRAVE on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established. The safety and effectiveness of CONTRAVE in combination with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, for Contrave. More information is also available at www.Contrave.com.

Contrave® and Mysimba are trademarks of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Forward-Looking Statements

Orexigen cautions you that the statements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements. Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "indicates," "will," "should," "intends," "potential," "suggests," "assuming," "designed" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the Company's current beliefs and expectations. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding: the potential to advance our global partnering discussions;  the ability to evaluate the opportunity to retain or exercise strategic commercial rights for Contrave or Mysimba; the strategic plan to pursue marketing authorizations worldwide and pharmaceutical partnerships for global commercialization; and the potential for continued success of the U.S. primary care marketing and commercialization of Contrave in the U.S. The inclusion of forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by Orexigen that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in this release due to the risk and uncertainties inherent in the Orexigen business, including, without limitation: the potential that the marketing and commercialization of Contrave/Mysimba will not be successful; the possibility that public disclosure of the results of the interim analysis of the Light Study would later be deemed to jeopardize the integrity of ongoing or new cardiovascular outcomes trials; additional analysis of the interim results or new data from the continuing Light Study, including safety-related data, may produce negative or inconclusive results, or may be inconsistent with the conclusion that the interim analysis was successful; the potential that the interim analysis may not be predictive of future results in the Light Study or another cardiovascular outcomes trial; the potential for early termination of Orexigen's North American collaboration agreement with Takeda; the possibility that Orexigen is unable to find a partner for Contrave/Mysimba in territories outside of North America; the possibility that Contrave/Mysimba will not be approved in territories outside of the U.S. and the European Union; the final results of the Light Study or another cardiovascular outcomes trial may not support continued approval of Contrave; the therapeutic and commercial value of Contrave; and other risks described in Orexigen's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, and Orexigen undertakes no obligation to revise or update this news release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. Further information regarding these and other risks is included under the heading "Risk Factors" in Orexigen's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 27, 2015 and its other reports, which are available from the SEC's website (www.sec.gov) and on Orexigen's website (www.orexigen.com) under the heading "Investors." All forwardlooking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Orexigen Contact:
McDavid Stilwell
VP, Corporate Communications and Business Development 
(858) 875-8629

Media Contact:
David Walsey
BrewLife
(858) 617-0772

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