Arena-pharmaceuticals-logoArena Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based drug development company, recently announced that it has expanded its agreement with Japanese pharma giant Eisai to commercialize and market its weight management drug Lorcaserin.

The deal, announced on November 7, expands the territory covered in Arena’s previous agreement with Eisai from North and South America to the rest of the world, with the exception of South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Israel and New Zealand.

Lorcaserin is Arena’s first drug to receive FDA approval.  Branded as BELVIQ, the drug is designed to suppress appetite by stimulating a receptor in the brain that results in a feeling of fullness.  Lorcaserin was approved for patients considered to be technically obese, with a Body Mass Index of 30 or over, and also for those who are overweight, with a BMI of 27 and who also suffer from a weight-related medical condition such as Type 2 Diabetes.

The expanded agreement with Eisai provides for joint research into new areas for Lorcaserin, including the drug’s potential role in smoking cessation.  The two companies are planning to launch a Phase 2 clinical trial in the first half of 2014 to evaluate its effectiveness as a treatment for smokers wishing to quit.

Arena-Pharmaceuticals-BelviqArena and Eisai will also evaluate Lorcaserin’s effectiveness when combined with phentermine, as well as the drug’s effects on diabetes and heart disease.

Under the terms of the deal, Arena will receive an upfront payment of $60M, and will be eligible for up to $176.5M in milestone payments.

For more information on the agreement, as well as Arena’s corporate update and third quarter financial results, please read the press release here.