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U.S. FDA Rejects Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX) Diet Drug Over Heart Risks



2/1/2011 6:29:16 AM

SAN DIEGO and OSAKA, Japan, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:OREX - News) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) (TSE:4502.to - News) announced today that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a complete response letter dated January 31, 2011 regarding the New Drug Application for Contrave® (naltrexone HCl/bupropion HCl) extended-release tablets for the treatment of obesity, including weight loss and maintenance of weight loss.

The FDA noted concern about the cardiovascular safety profile of naltrexone/bupropion when used long-term in a population of overweight and obese subjects. Specifically, the letter stated that "before your application can be approved, you must conduct a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sufficient size and duration to demonstrate that the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in overweight and obese subjects treated with naltrexone/bupropion does not adversely affect the drug's benefit-risk profile."

"We are surprised and extremely disappointed with the Agency's request in light of the extensive discussion and resulting vote on this topic at the December 7 Advisory Committee meeting," said Michael Narachi, President and CEO of Orexigen. "We plan to work closely with the Agency to gain more information to determine the appropriate next steps regarding the Contrave application."

Contrave, an investigational combination therapy of naltrexone HCl and bupropion HCl, was studied for its ability to help people with obesity initiate and sustain weight loss of at least 5 percent of their starting body weight in one year. Contrave was submitted for U.S. regulatory approval in March 2010. The original submission was based on multiple clinical trials that evaluated Contrave in more than 4500 patients.

Orexigen management will host a call and webcast to discuss this update today at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. The live call may be accessed by phone by calling (866) 730-5763 (domestic) or (857) 350-1587 (international), participant code 30894479. The webcast can be accessed live on the investor relations section of the Orexigen web site at www.orexigen.com and will be archived for 14 days following the call.

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for patients worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.

About Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. and Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Inc.

Based in Deerfield, Ill., Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. and Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Inc. are subsidiaries of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. The respective companies currently market oral diabetes, insomnia, rheumatology and gastroenterology treatments and seek to bring innovative products to patients through a pipeline that includes compounds in development for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, neurology and other conditions. To learn more about these Takeda companies, visit www.tpna.com.

Forward Looking Statements Related to Takeda

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Takeda's plans, outlook, strategies, results for the future, and other statements that are not descriptions of historical facts. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as "may," "believe," "will," "expect," "project," "estimate," "should," "anticipate," "plan," "assume," "continue," "seek," "pro forma," "potential," "target," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook" or "intend" or other similar words or expressions of the negative thereof. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by management that are believed to be reasonable, though they are inherently uncertain and difficult to predict. Investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on such forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or experience to differ materially from that expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Some of these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, (1) the economic circumstances surrounding Takeda's business, including general economic conditions in Japan, the United States and worldwide; (2) competitive pressures and developments; (3) applicable laws and regulations; (4) the success or failure of product development programs; (5) actions of regulatory authorities and the timing thereof; (6) changes in exchange rates; (7) claims or concerns regarding the safety or efficacy of marketed products or product candidates in development; and (8) integration activities with acquired companies.

The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release, and Takeda undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances after the date of the forward-looking statement. If Takeda does update or correct one or more of these statements, investors and others should not conclude that Takeda will make additional updates or corrections.

About Orexigen Therapeutics

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. Further information about the Company can be found at www.orexigen.com.

Forward-Looking Statements Related to Orexigen

Orexigen cautions you that 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," "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 for, and timing of, approval for Contrave, the Company's belief that this product candidate may be an important therapeutic option in the treatment of obesity, the potential milestone and royalty payments under the agreement with Takeda and the potential strength of our market entry with Contrave, if approved. 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 from those set forth in this release due to the risk and uncertainties inherent in the Orexigen business, including, without limitation: the uncertainty of the FDA approval process and other regulatory requirements; Orexigen's ability to demonstrate that the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in overweight and obese subjects treated with Contrave does not adversely affect the product candidate's benefit-risk profile; the potential for early termination of the collaboration agreement between Orexigen and Takeda; the costs and time required to complete additional clinical, non-clinical or other requirements prior to any resubmission of an NDA; the therapeutic and commercial value of Contrave; Orexigen's ability to attract and retain key personnel; Orexigen's ability to maintain sufficient capital; and other risks described in the Company'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 Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, which was filed with the Securities Exchange Commission on November 4, 2010 and is available from the SEC's website (www.sec.gov) and on our website (www.orexigen.com) under the heading "Investor Relations". All forward-looking 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.


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