Second bump in the road for Arena’s reboot

Four years after exiting the weight-loss market and selling its obesity drug Belviq to Eisai Arena looks to have rebuilt itself around a pipeline of disparate assets. Yesterday the reboot was set back when the company’s CB2 agonist olorinab failed a phase II trial in abdominal pain due to irritable bowel syndrome. Arena had previously suggested that a 1.5-point placebo-adjusted improvement in pain score in the Captivate study would count as a success; yesterday it gave no data from Captivate, but said there was no statistically significant improvement versus placebo. Abdominal pain is a hallmark of IBS, and there had been hope for the readout given olorinab’s earlier success in a small study in pain associated with Crohn’s disease. Though Arena cited a benefit in a subgroup of Captivate patients with moderate to severe pain at baseline, it accepted that olorinab was now under review for “possible strategic options”, which usually suggests discontinuation. The bad news is that Arena’s lead project, etrasimod, failed in atopic dermatitis last year, and olorinab was supposed to have filled a gap in major catalysts until next year’s phase III etrasimod readout in ulcerative colitis.

Selected Arena pipeline assets
Project Mechanism 2026e sales ($m) Use Detail
Etrasimod  S1P  receptor 1 regulator  950 Atopic dermatitis Failed ph2 Advise trial
Crohn's disease Ph2 Cultivate trial reads out H2 2021
Ulcerative colitis Ph3 Elevate trial reads out Q1 2022
Olorinab CB2 agonist   76 IBD-associated pain  Failed ph2 Captivate trial
Ralinepag Prostacyclin receptor agonist  50 Pulmonary hypertension  Licensed to United Therapeutics for $800m up front
APD418 Beta 3 adrenoceptor antagonist Heart failure Said to be in ph1 (no entry)
LP352 5-HT2C superagonist Epileptic encephalopathies Spun out into Longboard Phamacueticals
Source: Arena & EvaluatePharma sellside consensus.

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