Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) and Eisai Inc. announced that the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) has granted regulatory approval of the chronic weight management agent VENESPRI®(lorcaserin HCl: U.S. brand name: BELVIQ®) for commercialization by Eisai Laboratorios, S. de R.L. de C.V.(Eisai Mexico) in Mexico.

VENESPRI is now approved in Mexico as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese). Patients with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes, are also eligible to be treated with VENESPRI. The product is expected to become available later this year. In connection with the approval Arena will receive a $1 million milestone payment.

“Currently more than 70 percent of the Mexican population is either overweight or obese,” said Shaji Procida, President and Chief Operating Officer, Eisai Inc. “Without intervention, these numbers are projected to increase. Eisai remains committed to help address the health care needs of this patient population.”

In addition to Mexico, lorcaserin HCl is also approved for weight management in the United States and inSouth Korea, where it is marketed under the name BELVIQ®. Eisai and Ildong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., market and distribute BELVIQ in the United States and South Korea, respectively. Arena manufactures and supplies the finished commercial product from its facility in Switzerland.

“We are pleased that the Mexican health authority has approved VENESPRI as an option for patients who find it difficult to lose weight through diet and exercise alone,” said Craig M. Audet, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Operations & Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Original Source)

Shares of Arena closed yesterday at $1.60, down $0.02 or -1.23%. ARNA has a 1-year high of $4.86 and a 1-year low of $1.30. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1.81 and its 200-day moving average is $1.70.
On the ratings front, Wells Fargo analyst Jim Birchenough reiterated a Hold rating on ARNA, in a report issued on May 10. According to, Birchenough has a yearly average return of 18.6%, a 45.6% success rate, and is ranked #114 out of 4055 analysts.

Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which focuses on discovery, development and commercialization of drugs in the therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Its product pipeline includes Lorcaserin, APD334, APD371, temanogrel and nelotanserin.