More Signs of Life for Obesity Drugs (VVUS, OREX, ARNA)

September 15, 2011 · Filed Under Cardiac, fda, Heart, obesity · 1 Comment 

VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) is getting yet one more sign of life for its Qnexa drug aimed at treating obesity.  The emerging drug outfit has reached an agreement with the FDA on resubmitting its new drug application as an obesity treatment.

Here is the plan: “VIVUS intends to resubmit the QNEXA NDA by the end of October 2011, prior to completion of the FORTRESS study. Top-line results from FORTRESS are expected in December 2011, with validation of FORTRESS expected in the third quarter of 2012. The FDA also stated that an Advisory Committee meeting for QNEXA will be held in the first quarter of 2012.”

It was also just earlier this week that its Avanafil phase III study results were shown again to be positive in its REVIVE study in diabetes.

What helps VIVUS here is that treating obesity also in effect treats diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions, hypertension, dyslipidemia, allows for more active lifestyles, and more.  It also needs to be noted that the FDA has treated most obesity treatments as taboo due to side-effects and and due to a lack of results in many instances.  The history of obesity drugs is a marred one.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OREX) and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) are also both up a limited amount as they are “the other obesity drug contenders” by Wall Street’s eyes.  Those are not as close, not by a mile, if you note the share prices.  Orexigen is up 2.5% at $1.41 and Arena is up 3% at $1.43.

VIVUS stock is up almost 8% at $9.14 but the stock was up in the double-digits at $9.62 earlier.  As of 11:15 AM EST there have also been more than 2.7 million shares traded when the average volume is only 1.5 million shares.

Before the effects of this news pop, Thomson Reuters had a consensus price target objective of $11.69 on VIVUS and the 52-week trading range has been $5.28 to $11.48.

JON C. OGG

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