Orexigen Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. The company filed a New Drug Application (NDA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead investigational product for the treatment of obesity – Contrave – on March 10,2010.

The company announced today that it has entered into an exclusive partnership with Japanese pharmaceutical giant, Takeda Pharmaceutical. The partnership is being set up to develop and commercialize Contrave in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Contrave is combination therapy believed to address both biological and behavioral drivers of obesity. The central pathways targeted by this treatment are involved in controlling the balance of food intake and metabolism, and regulating reward-based eating behavior.

Orexigen will receive an upfront cash payment of $50 million from Takeda and Takeda will obtain an exclusive marketing right from the company in the United States, Canada and Mexico while Orexigen retains the right to co-promote with Takeda in the United States. The company will be eligible to receive payments of over $1 billion upon achieving certain regulatory and sales-based milestones. If Contrave is commercialized, Takeda will pay tiered double-digit royalty payments on net sales.

Under the terms of the agreement, Orexigen and Takeda will work together and share the costs on developing the product. Orexigen will lead pre-approval activites and Takeda will lead post-approval activities. The company looks forward to working with Takeda of which Orexigen’s CEO Michael Narachi said, “Takeda is an ideal partner for Orexigen…”

The news of this partnership has sent the stock of Orexigen sharply higher in today’s trading. It is currently trading at $5.66 a share, up $1.07 or 23.31% for the day. Volume has been massive at nearly 7 million shares which is well in excess of the average daily volume of about 1.28 million shares. For more information on Orexigen Therapeutics, please visit its website at www.orexigen.com.