Company news: Pfizer, Orexigen
Orexigen said first-quarter losses narrowed to $10.4 million for the quarter ended March 31 -- compared to losses of $11.6 million for the same period last year. The maker of the experimental obesity drugs Contrave and Empatic rang in $857,000 in sales for the quarter, compared to $1.9 million for the same period last year. Sales fell due to a lack of licensing revenue. The San Diego company said it's set to begin recruiting for a heart-safety clinical trial for Contrave this quarter. The trial will include about 10,000 patients. The company said it is paying close attention to the FDA's upcoming review of Vivus' drug Qnexa, which executives referred to by its chemical makeup, phentermine-topiramate, because anti-seizure medications are part of the mix for both Qnexa and Empatic. CEO Michael Narachi said the Qnexa fallout will determine how the company proceeds with Empatic's subsequent development. The weight-loss category has received particular attention this quarter -- Arena's drug, locaserin, is before an FDA panel today, days after a study was presented at the Centers for Disease Control conference that projected 42% of American adults will be obese by 2030. This would be an increase from the current statistics which indicate about 33% of US adults are obese.