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OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS, INC. filed this Form S-1/A on 04/09/2007
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prescribers, we may consider entering into a collaboration, either in the United States, outside the United States or both, with a pharmaceutical company that has the sales force and marketing resources to adequately address this physician audience. However, for the foreseeable future, we expect to maintain commercial rights to our product candidates and to continue to develop them independently.
While both product candidates are designed to produce weight loss, we expect to position Contrave and Empatic to target different segments of the obese population. The two components of Contrave, bupropion and naltrexone, are both approved to treat addictive disorders: smoking in the case of bupropion, and alcoholism and opioid addiction in the case of naltrexone. Recent research suggests that for many obese patients, overconsumption of food is an addiction, much like smoking and alcoholism. Notably, women report substantially greater food craving than men, according to a 1991 study. In addition, women were responsible for 90% of all weight loss prescriptions written in the United States from 1998 to 2003, according to IMS Health. Given its profile, we believe that Contrave may be particularly well-suited for mild-to-moderately obese women who report food cravings.
We believe that Empatic, given its profile, may be more effective than Contrave in reducing weight, at least in the early stages of treatment. The overall tolerability of Empatic has yet to be determined. However, it is likely to have labeling which would recommend appropriate birth control for women of childbearing age and to be contraindicated in women who are pregnant or breast feeding. As a result, we believe that Empatic may be especially well-suited for men and post-menopausal women who are heavier and require greater weight reduction. We expect that the experience gained from future clinical trials will enable us to further refine the positioning and brand characteristics of both products.
To date, we have focused our clinical development efforts exclusively in the United States. This appears to be the largest commercial market for obesity therapeutics and the market which we believe we best understand. However, we have also sought to establish intellectual property covering our product candidates, primarily in the form of patent application filings, in various foreign markets. We recognize that there is a significant emerging obesity market in Europe, Asia and Latin America. We believe that conducting the necessary supplemental trials, engaging in local regulatory dialogue and conducting local market research is likely best done through strategic collaborators in territories outside the United States or possibly in partnership with a global pharmaceutical company. We will continue to consider international opportunities, and appropriately prioritize these opportunities in the context of the opportunity in the United States.
Intellectual Property
We rely on a combination of in-licensed patent rights, our own patent rights, trademarks, trade secrets and know-how to protect Contrave and Empatic. We own or have exclusive rights to 14 patent applications currently pending in the United States with respect to various compositions, methods of use and formulations relating to Contrave and/or Empatic. We also have a number of patent applications currently pending in various foreign countries that correspond to some of the pending U.S. applications. We also seek to protect our trade secrets and our know-how relating to our products and our business. These intellectual property rights are in addition to any regulatory exclusivity that we may be able to obtain.
Contrave is currently protected in the United States by U.S. Patent Nos. 5,817,665 and 5,512,593, which we have in-licensed on an exclusive basis from Dr. Lee Dante pursuant to a patent license agreement described in further detail below. These patents, which we refer to as the Dante patents, provide basic composition of matter coverage for the Contrave naltrexone/bupropion combination. In addition to the Dante patents, we own a U.S. patent application and a related continuation patent application, each of which stem from a provisional patent application that we own but that is the subject of agreements with OHSU and Duke University, or Duke, requiring us to pay them specified royalties on sales of products covered by the patent applications. These agreements are described in further detail below. These patent applications, which we refer to as the Weber/Cowley patent applications, are directed to the current composition of our Contrave product candidate, including our SR formulation of naltrexone, and methods for using that composition to effect weight loss. We and/or our licensors have also filed a number of international counterparts to these patent applications in foreign countries. If patents ultimately issue from these U.S. patent applications and their