SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

June 22, 2011 08:16 ET

Obesity Drug Makers Fine Tune Potential Blockbusters

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on Arena Pharmaceuticals and Vivus

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 22, 2011) - The biotech industry is generating significant investor interest this year as an influx of new and lucrative therapies work their way towards regulatory approval. Analysts believe pharmaceuticals should remain one of the widest-margin industries, with prospects enhanced by demographic growth in the elderly and new drugs stemming from discoveries in biotechnology. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the biotechnology industry and provides stock research on Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) and Vivus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Obesity drug makers continue to battle through the approval process, fine tuning their potential blockbuster products in hopes of finally earning FDA approval. Due to the overwhelming percentage of overweight Americans, an effective and safe weight loss drug is seen to have astronomical earnings potential. The problem is that the FDA has proven to be very hesitant to approve prospective obesity drugs due to both safety and efficacy concerns.

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Arena's obesity drug, Lorcaserin, was rejected last September after a memo from the FDA stated that the drug did not satisfy the mean efficacy requirements that the FDA has laid down for obesity therapies, and additionally caused tumors in rats. Arena plans to re-file its application by the end of 2011 -- meaning the drug would likely not be available until 2012 at the earliest.

The FDA has been kinder to Vivus. Although the FDA is worried about the risk of birth defects from Vivus' diet pill, Qnexa, regulators may allow Vivus to pursue a more limited label that would exclude child-bearing women. Qnexa has proven quite efficient -- the latest data showed better than 10% weight loss over two years.

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