SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

June 12, 2012 08:20 ET

Arena and VIVUS Race to Be the First in the Lucrative Anti-Obesity Drug Market

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 12, 2012) - Despite growing global economic concerns, the Biotech Industry has shown investors striking gains in 2012. The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) is up over 23 percent year-to-date, nearly 10 times the 2.75 percent gain from Dow Jones over the same period. The anti-obesity drug market has been a hot topic recently as companies race to bring the first weight loss pill to market in nearly 13 years. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS).

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Obesity in the U.S. has become a major problem. According to the National Institute of Health in 2009-2010 35.7 percent of adults in the U.S. were obese. On average it is estimated that an obese person spends $1,429 more normal-weight individuals. In 2003, it was estimated that as much as $75 billion of the nation's public health cost was associated with obesity. If something is not done to slow down U.S. obesity rates it is predicted that obesity related spending will rise to $343 billion in 2018 according to numbers from the National Institute of Health.

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Arena's Lorcaserin, an investigational drug candidate intended for weight management, is a new chemical entity that is believed to act as a selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist. The serotonin 2C receptor is expressed in the brain, including the hypothalamus, an area believed to be involved in the control of appetite and metabolism. Arena has patents that cover Lorcaserin in the United States, Europe and other jurisdictions that in most cases are capable of continuing into 2023 without taking into account any patent term extensions or other exclusivity Arena might obtain. The Food and Drug Administration is set to make a decision on Lorcaserin by June 27.

Vivus' Qnexa is an investigational drug candidate being developed to address weight loss, type-2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. Qnexa is a once-a-day, proprietary, oral, controlled-release formulation of low-dose phentermine and topiramate, which is designed to decrease appetite and increase satiety (the sense of feeling full), the two main mechanisms that impact eating behavior. The Food and Drug Administration is set to make a decision on Qnexa by July 17.

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