Alvogen Korea said Wednesday that it gained exclusive marketing rights to sell Vivus’ obesity drug Qsymia in Korea.
Alvogen Korea알보젠코리아 signed an exclusive domestic marketing agreement with the U.S. pharmaceutical company to sell Qsymia and will be responsible for licensing, sales and marketing activities, it said.
The anti-obesity drug market has received constant attention in Korea, having recorded about 9 billion won ($7.9 million) in sales in the second quarter of this year, according to recent statistics.
Vivus’ Qsymia is a phentermine-topiramate combo that got U.S. FDA’s approval to treat obesity of people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more or those with a BMI greater than 27 kg/m2 with other risk factors such as hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia.
Patients can take the once-daily prescription weight-loss medicine to eat less by reducing their appetite and feeling more satisfied after eating, the company said.
“Qsymia is one of the top drugs for obesity in the United States. [Alvogen Korea] hopes to gain similar market share in Korea by achieving synergy with Vivus,” an Alvogen Korea알보젠코리아 official said.
The drug will be the third obesity drug to enter a crowded domestic market following Eisai’s Belviq (ingredient: lorcaserin) and Orexigen Pharmaceutical’s Contrave (ingredient: bupropion/naltrexone).
Currently, Korean pharmaceuticals such as Il-dong and Kwangdong are dominating the domestic obesity market with new entrants such as Novo Nordisk’s Saxenda added to the mix.
“We expect fierce competition considering Korean companies are currently dominating the market paired with the top-three obesity treatments in the U.S. entering the Korean market," the Alvogen Korea official said.
“However, considering Vivus’ success in the U.S. and Alvogen Korea’s capabilities, we hope to achieve similar results [to the U.S.] in Korea,” he added.
The drug will be launched around 2019 after gaining the Ministry of Drug and Food Safety’s approval, the company said.
Alvogen is a global pharmaceutical company with presence in 35 countries, and entered Korea by acquiring Dream Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of the Hanwha Group, in 2015. Alvogen Korea is currently the number one player in the domestic market for obesity treatment, the company added.
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