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Orexigen Financial Chief Cooper Resigns

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) said its chief financial officer is stepping down after four years as the biopharmaceutical company named a strategy executive to replace him on an interim basis. Financial chief and treasurer Graham Cooper resigned for personal reasons, the company said, after spending more than four years commuting to the job from the San Francisco Bay Area. Orexigen is based in San Diego. Cooper will remain in the post until the company reports its year-end results. Orexigen said it will name Jay Hagan, currently its senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, as acting CFO. Hagan joined the company in 2009 after 10 years at the biotech firm Amgen Inc. (AMGN). Orexigen is in a three-way race with Vivus Inc. (VVUS) and Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) to bring the latest crop of diet pills to market, with Orexigen looking to advance its weight-loss drug Contrave. Coincidentally, Arena also disclosed the upcoming departure of its financial chief last week. Orexigen earlier this month cut 23 jobs, resulting in a 40% reduction of its work force, in the wake of a regulatory rejection of Contrave. Orexigen shares were up 2% to $3.47 in premarket trading. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909;;

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