Obesity News and Treatment

Orexigen endorsement raises expectations on obesity drug deals

An FDA advisory panel endorsement can make a big difference for a biotech company, especially if the vote puts you in the lead of a hotly contested drug development race.

Assessing the impact on Orexigen ($OREX) after its surprising victory for the obesity drug Contrave in the wake of two negative votes for its competitors, the Wall Street Journal notes that the endorsement sets the stage for a potentially lucrative pact covering Asia and Europe. And now the spotlight also shifts to another Orexigen weight-loss drug that’s not so far advanced. Can Empatic do better-much, much better-than the $50 million signing fee Orexigen earned from Takeda on their Contrave deal?

The Journal goes on to note that everyone in the weight-loss field-including Neurosearch and Vivus–will likely benefit from the vote. This was the first endorsement of an obesity drug in 13 years, proving that it may be possible to actually make it to the marketplace with a blockbuster therapy. And that may spur some big players to the bargaining table.

Orexigen CEO Michael Narachi, meanwhile, is sounding much bolder about Contrave’s prospects at the FDA now that the advisers have weighed in. Any possible FDA delay “will just take us out to middle of next year, so we feel good about all of our options,” he told analysts on Wednesday.

Are women in need of obesity treatment?

Obesity treatments could be one way to help women get into good health before having a child.

According to recent research conducted for the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE), around five per cent of expectant mothers in the UK are now classified as obese.
Professor James Walker, chair of the CMACE, commented: “The numbers of obese mothers are on the rise and this group of women require specialist care since they are more susceptible to illnesses and complications.

“So far, there hasn’t been a UK-wide study on the extent of the problem but we now have very good data on how these women are cared for and the areas where improvements are urgently needed.”

This study found that maternity units were not well-prepared to cater for the needs of very overweight women.

However, health professionals suggested that the solution lies in helping women to lose weight before they fall pregnant to improve their health and that of their child.

The study also found that just 55 per cent of women with a Body Mass Index of 35 and above gave birth naturally.

Obesity on the Rise in Europe

According to the report, the UK fares the worst, with the highest incidence of obesity and weight related problems, with Malta and Ireland next in line. This new data comes as a surprise to many, and while it has long been known that nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, it is a clear sign that further education and action on the part of health officials around the world is necessary to curb the growing number of people at risk from weight related diseases. While the statistics revealed about adults are worrying enough, those concerning children are even more disturbing. The study found that one in seven children in the EU have a weight problem, or are obese, and that only one in seven has any form of regular exercise. Government heads and medical experts from the reason are justifiably concerned about the results of this study. Obesity has been linked to the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, certain forms of cancer and other serious diseases. A sedentary lifestyle, combined with poor food choices, including fast or convenience foods, has long been identified as the cause of growing obesity around the world, and while people in poverty stricken areas of the world like Africa may suffer nutrient deficiencies and worse, it’s clear that the developed world has a nutritional crisis of it’s own on it’s hands. Exactly how health officials in Europe plan to stem the growing tide of obesity is unclear, but there is a meeting of world experts planned this week to discuss the problem, and potential solutions. It is ironic that in countries where there are multi billion dollar weight loss industries, there are the highest number of overweight people, and perhaps it’s time to forego the pills, potions and miracle diets in favor of a simpler, healthier lifestyle.

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