OHSU startup Orexigen earns FDA approval

The office of Technology Transfer and Business Development is happy to announce that a drug from  Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., called Contrave, has been approved by the FDA. This drug helps with weight management, along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, in adults with an initial body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) who also have at least one weight-related comorbid condition.

Contrave has two components: naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, and bupropion, a relatively weak inhibitor of the neuronal reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Nonclinical studies suggest that naltrexone and bupropion have effects on two separate areas of the brain involved in the regulation of food intake: the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite, and the dopamine circuit,  which serves as a reward system.

Orexigen is an OHSU startup company.  The FDA’s approval of Contrave represents a significant milestone for both Orexigen and OHSU.  Sales through Orexigen’s North American partner, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, are set to begin this fall.

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