The drug BELVIQ (lorcaserin HCl), indicated for weight management, has been approved by the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The drug was developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and will be marketed and distributed in the country by Ildong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Given the marketing and supply agreement between the two companies, Arena has also received a $3.0 million milestone payment from Ildong.
Belviq is a drug therapy that was developed to reduce the consumption of food as well as increase satiety, and was approved for commercialization in South Korea as a complement to a healthy diet and regular exercise in adults in need of weight control. The compound works by selectively activating serotonin 2C receptors in the brain, which is expected to promote stronger and more lasting feelings of satiety, even after ingesting smaller amounts of food.
The product is specifically indicated for adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater, classified as obese; or 27 kg/m2 or greater, classified as overweight; and diagnosed with another weight-related co-morbidity, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia or type 2 diabetes.
“We are pleased with this achievement, and continue to work with our collaborators to obtain approval for BELVIQ in additional territories,” said the president and CEO of Arena, Jack Lief. “As a leading pharmaceutical company in South Korea with significant experience marketing obesity products, we are confident in Ildong’s ability to make this novel therapy available to patients in South Korea.”
The marketing and supply agreement was established between a subsidiary of Arena, called Arena Pharmaceuticals GmbH and Ildong, with the former being responsible for manufacturing the drug at its facilities in Switzerland, and supplying the latter at an initial purchase price of 35% of the annual net sales. The agreement also stipulates that the purchase price will be increased by 45%, based on annual net sales exceeding $15 million.
San Diego, California-based Arena has been focused on improving the lives of patients struggling with weight problems by providing innovative drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors, and launched Belviq in the U.S. in 2013. Seoul, Korea-based Ildong Pharmaceuticals, is one of the country’s leading drug developers and distributors.