FDA issues complete response letter to NDA for lorcaserin

Arena and Eisai announced that they received a complete response letter (CRL) from the FDA regarding the New Drug Application (NDA) for lorcaserin for weight management.  The FDA has completed its review of the NDA and determined that it cannot approve the application in its present form, for non-clinical and clinical issues.

The non-clinical issues identified by the FDA included diagnostic uncertainty in the classification of mammary masses in female rats, unresolved exposure-response relationship for lorcaserin-emergent mammary adenocarcinoma, and unidentified mode of action and unclear safety margin for lorcaserin-emergent brain astrocytoma. With respect to the clinical reasons, the FDA stated in the CRL that the weight loss efficacy of lorcaserin in overweight and obese individuals without type 2 diabetes is marginal and recommended that Arena submit the final study report of the BLOOM-DM (Behavioral modification and Lorcaserin for Overweight and Obesity Management in Diabetes Mellitus) trial. The FDA also stated in the letter that in the event evidence cannot be provided to alleviate concern regarding clinical relevance of the tumor findings in rats, additional clinical studies may be required to obtain a more robust assessment of lorcaserin's benefit-risk profile.

Lorcaserin is a new chemical entity that is believed to act as a selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist. The serotonin 2C receptor is expressed in the brain, including the hypothalamus, an area believed to be involved in the control of appetite and metabolism.

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