Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity and other central nervous system-related disorders, announced that it has received a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) for what the company refers to as the 'Weber/Cowley methods patent' (US patent application no 11/356,839) which provides coverage for Contrave, the company's lead obesity product candidate now in phase-3 clinical trials. 

Upon issuance, the patent will broadly cover methods of treating obesity with combinations of bupropion and naltrexone, the two active agents in Contrave. It is a companion to the Weber/Cowley composition patent (US 7,375,111) which was issued by the USPTO in May 2008, which broadly covers sustained release (SR) compositions of bupropion and naltrexone combined in a single dosage form. It is anticipated that the Weber/Cowley methods patent will provide protection for Contrave through mid 2024.

"This patent represents another successful milestone for Orexigen. Upon issuance, Contrave would be protected by four patents that collectively will provide broad intellectual property coverage," said Orexigen president and CEO, Gary Tollefson. "With this additional patent allowance, we have added another layer of protection in support of Contrave which we believe enhances its net present value."

Contrave is an investigational weight loss medication with a mechanism of action that works at two sites within the central nervous system. The first is a hypothalamic site that controls the balance of food intake and metabolism. "We believe that Contrave is possibly the first treatment for obesity to address a second site, the reward systems in the brain that are associated with food preference and food cravings.

In clinical trials, Contrave has initiated and sustained significant weight loss over one year of treatment (approximately 8-10.7 per cent in patients completing 48 weeks of therapy) we believe by reducing appetite, increasing metabolism and offsetting the body's natural tendency to fight back and slow down the weight loss process. We expect to announce data from the first of our Contrave phase-3 trials in January of 2009 and the remaining three trials by mid next year," said Tollefson.