Arena Signs Deal With Eisai for Lorcaserin, Qualcomm CEO Identifies Two Opportunities in Mobile Health, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

7/8/10Follow @bvbigelow

The long Fourth of July holiday weekend made for a short week of life sciences news in San Diego. Even if I made short work of this week’s roundup, though, let’s hope you long remain interested.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs, who was instrumental in bringing the World Economic Forum’s mobile health summit to San Diego last week, said he sees wellness and chronic care management as the two biggest opportunities in wireless health. The Qualcomm CEO said mobile devices can help cut the costs of chronic care management, which accounts for most of the healthcare budget, by monitoring patients’ vital signs and reminding them to take their pills.

Santarus, the San Diego biotech that specializes in treating gastrointestinal disorders, cut 37 percent of its workforce, or about 120 jobs, after a competitor began selling a generic version of omeprazole sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid) for treating heartburn and gastroesophageal disease. Santarus (NASDAQ: SNTS) still has a proprietary drug for treating Type 2 diabetes, and has at least two other drug candidates in late stage clinical trials.

—San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) said it signed an agreement with Japan’s Eisai Pharmaceuticals to sell its lorcaserin weight loss drug in the United States. Arena, which gets $50 million upfront and could get as much as $160 million in additional milestone payments, plans to manufacture the drug for Eisai—and will take between 31.5 percent and 36.5 percent of Eisai’s estimated annual U.S. sales.

—George Scangos, who was named last week as CEO of Biogen Idec, told analysts the Weston, MA-based biotech powerhouse (which maintains operations in San Diego) has got to improve its R&D productivity. As Ryan reported, Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) hasn’t brought a new drug to market since the 2004 launch of natalizumab (Tysabri), the company’s treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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