SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

January 24, 2011 08:46 ET

Weighing in on the Obesity Drug Market

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Arena Pharmaceuticals & Orexigen Therapeutics

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 24, 2011) - Over the past year, obesity drug makers have become one of the most popular speculative plays in the market. Due to the overwhelming percentage of overweight Americans, an effective and safe weight loss drug was 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 efficiency concerns. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Healthcare Sector and provides research reports on Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) and Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OREX). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

After an FDA advisory panel rejected obesity drugs from Vivus and Arena last summer, speculation in obesity drugs all but disappeared, and shares were sent plummeting. However, investors were given an early -- and much unexpected -- Christmas gift last month when a Food and Drug Administration committee voted 13 to 7 that the benefits of Orexigen Therapeutics' new obesity drug Contrave outweigh the potential risks. The news created a significant rally for all diet drug makers.

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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 then met with FDA officials in December and now plans to re-file its application by the end of 2011 -- meaning the drug would likely not be available until 2012 at the earliest.

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