The US operation of Tokyo-based Eisai has announced a market and supply agreement with Arena Pharmaceuticals Gmbh for exclusive rights to commercialise Lorcaserin in the US.

The drug, earmarked as a potential aid in controlling appetite and metabolism, will be aimed at clinically obese patients with at least one weight-related co-morbid condition.

Eisai president and CEO Lonnel Coats said that the development of Lorcaserin would supplement its gastrointestinal franchise.

“Obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues of our day and one which cannot be overlooked,” said Coats.

Arena will handle the manufacture and supply of the finished commercial product from its facility in Switzerland.

The prevalence of obesity in US adults more than doubled between 1980 and 2008, rising from 15% to 34%.