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Orexigen Therapeutics Co-Founder Resigns From the Board of Directors

San Diego drugmaker Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. announced May 27 that Dr. Eckard Weber, the company’s co-founder and former chairman, has resigned from the board of directors.

Weber served as chairman for over a decade, from 2002 to earlier this year. He also served as the company’s interim president and CEO for a stint in 2008-2009.

“I have enjoyed immensely my time with Orexigen, and it is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I depart from the board of this company that I started and have had the privilege to serve in various capacities over the years,” said Weber in a statement. “I am proud of what we have accomplished and am confident Orexigen will execute well in their plans for U.S. commercialization of Contrave.”

Weber is a partner at venture capital firm Domain Associates LLC, where he focuses on early-stage investments and the formation and management of new companies. Domain owns 11.3 million shares of Orexigen common stock, according to a company statement. Domain partner Brian Dovey will remain on the company’s board of directors.

Weber, with Michael Cowley, co-founded Orexigen in 2002. In 2014, the FDA approved the company’s first drug, Contrave, as an anti-obesity treatment to be prescribed in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. In 2015, the medicine was approved in Europe under the brand name Mysimba, and in 2016 Contrave was approved in South Korea.

But selling weight loss drugs can be complicated — due in part to reimbursement issues — and Contrave sales have been less-than-stellar so far. The company’s stock (Nasdaq: OREX) has fallen over 91 percent in the last 12 months, and is currently trading for $0.41 per share.

“We thank Eckard Weber for his leadership and many important contributions to Orexigen over the past 14 years,” said Mike Narachi, president and CEO of Orexigen, in a statement. “We wish him every success in his future endeavors as he continues his focus on drug research and development.”

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