EDiets, GlaxoSmithKline Pair on Weight-Loss Program

EDiets.com Inc. (DIET), the online operator of diet and nutrition programs, is joining with GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) to provide customized low-fat meals for Glaxo's Alli weight- loss treatment.

``It creates the most comprehensive weight-loss program I think the market has seen before,'' EDiets Chief Executive Officer Stephen Rattner said in a telephone interview.

EDiets will offer co-branded meals tailored to Alli's fat- content specifications that customers can have delivered to their homes, Rattner said. He declined to disclose terms of the revenue-sharing agreement.

EDiets has attracted about 80,000 paid subscribers to its Web site, and started its meal-delivery service last year, Rattner said. Customers get a full day's worth of meals for $15.95.

Rattner said he expects the Glaxo partnership will draw in some of the more than 2 million customers he says have started to use the Alli weight-loss program in the eight months it has been on the market.

``Part of our strategy with Alli is to be a partner with consumers in their weight-loss attempt,'' Jeff Schuldt, director of promotions and alliances for Glaxo's consumer health-care unit, said in a telephone interview today. ``EDiets was a natural partner in this.''

Sales Boost

Glaxo reported Feb. 7 that sales of the over-the-counter treatment helped boost fourth-quarter revenue in its consumer unit by 13 percent, to 927 million pounds ($1.82 billion).

Rattner wouldn't disclose the projected effect of the partnership on EDiets' 2008 revenue, noting it should take effect ``relatively immediately, but ramping up in different ways as marketing rolls out.'' He had previously forecast 2008 sales of $50 million.

Slowing consumer spending hasn't affected EDiets' sales, even as customers cut back at retail stores and restaurants to offset higher gasoline prices and a slumping housing market, according to Rattner.

``The good news is people always have to eat,'' he said. ``We really did work very hard to make this affordable to as many people as we can.''

EDiets has been seeking a new chief financial officer since Robert Hamilton resigned last month and is in the ``final processes right now with finalizing something with someone hopefully in the near future,'' Rattner said.

EDiets, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, gained 3 cents to $4.89 as of 4:30 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has declined 17 percent this year.

Glaxo is the world's second-biggest drugmaker, behind Pfizer Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colleen McElroy in New York at cmcelroy@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.