- Earlier this week, Takeda severed its distribution partnership with Orexigen for the obesity med Contrave. As a result, Orexigen acquired all U.S. rights to Contrave, while packaging off European rights to embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
- Valeant will be responsible for the commercialization of the drug, marketed as Mysimba overseas, in 19 European countries. Mysimba is already approved in 12 E.U. countires and Valeant is expected to pursue approval in the other seven non-E.U. countries.
- The deal comes, however, as Valeant is reeling from the investor flight prompted by its disastrous business update on Tuesday. The company cut its 2016 revenue forecast by $1.5 billion, and said continued delay in filing its 10-K form with the SEC could cause lenders to accelerate payments.
- Despite Takeda’s best efforts, Contrave had anemic sales of $53 million last year. On top of the poor results, Takeda found itself embroiled in a fiasco for breach of confidentiality when it leaked data from its safety study.
What happens when two troubled companies join forces to accomplish something that would be difficult even for the best marketers?
A year ago, the leaked data from the Contrave study suggested a potential cardiovascular benefit, but recent data published in JAMA suggests that is most likely not the case. In fact, a new trial will probably be needed.
Valeant can now add Mysimba (Contrave) to the list of questionable drugs it has acquired in hopes of resuscitating: Dendreon's Provenge, Amgen's broadlamumab (still under FDA review) and Sprout's Addyi. None of these has been a major turnaround success story as of yet.
The acquisition of Mysimba also may no longer fit with the business model Valeant is attempting to pivot towards. As it has come under fire for its pricing strategies, its CEO Mike Pearson has pledged more modest price increases and growth driven by prescription volume.
Taking on a troubled drug which is struggling to get off the ground appears to be a tall order for a company trying to put out many other fires at the same time.