SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

May 02, 2012 08:20 ET

Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS Look to Cash in on Anti-Obesity Drug Market

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 2, 2012) - A new study shows that medical costs as a result of obesity is nearly double that of previous estimates, and even higher than those caused by smoking. As a result Biotech companies are looking to cash in on the anti-obesity drug market. Biotech companies are in a race to bring the first weight-loss pill to the market in nearly 13 years. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Biotechnology Industry and provides equity research on Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS).

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Approximately one-third of U.S. adults and nearly 17 percent of youth were obese in 2009-2010 according to a report by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. The Nation's obesity problem has been a growing concern for many years now. It has gotten so bad that hospitals are replacing wall-mounted toilets with floor models to support obese patients. The U.S. health care reform law of 2010 allows obese employees to be charged between 30 to 50 percent more for health insurance if they fail to take part in a "qualified wellness program." Cawley and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University after a recent study calculated that obesity adds $190 billion in health costs, 20.6 percent of U.S. health care expenditures.

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Arena Pharmaceuticals' anti-obesity drug, Lorcaserin, is set for a review by the FDA on May 10, 2012. This will mark the second time Lorcaserin has faced a FDA panel. The drug was previously rejected after the FDA cited potential heart valve damage and overall effectiveness of the drug as reasons for rejection. The European Medicines Agency accepted Lorcaserin application for review at the end of March.

Vivus earlier this month reported that the FDA has extended its review of their weight-loss drug Qnexa to July 17 from April 17. The drug was previously issued a favorable review by a FDA panel. The company recently announced that the FDA has approved STENDRA (avanafil) tablets for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), marking the first new prescription agent approved in nearly a decade for the condition that afflicts as many as 30 million men in the U.S.

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