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Science That VIVUS Investors Need to Know

VIVUS gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its obesity drug Qsymia this summer, and its stock is up approximately 80% since the beginning of 2012. This has been a solid return for shareholders, but there are still many questions:

  • How much higher can VIVUS go?
  • Will Qsymia become a blockbuster drug?
  • Will sales decline when Arena Pharmaceuticals' drug Belviq becomes available in early 2013?
  • Will Orexigen’s drug Contrave gain FDA approval and prove to be the dominant player in the obesity drug market?

While these questions may be difficult to answer, investors can make better investing decisions if they understand some of the science behind VIVUS' drug. In this video, health care analyst Max Macaluso discusses what Qsymia is on a molecular level and notes a few things that all VIVUS investors should be watching.

Arena, VIVUS' major rival in the obesity drug market, is confronting significant challenges as it prepares to launch Belviq in 2013. In our brand new premium research report on Arena Pharmaceuticals, senior biotech analyst Brian Orelli walks investors through both the opportunities and threats facing the company. Since key news can develop quickly, we're also including a full year of updates for those who sign up. Click here now to learn more.

Max Macaluso has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Feel free to send him an email or contact him on Twitter @TMFMassimo if you have questions for him to answer in this new video series. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2012, at 10:30 PM, SamFreedom wrote:

    Your ARENA pitch says, "Since key news can develop quickly" in referring to free updates yet i haven't seen any updates at all.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2012, at 6:14 AM, bhasa04 wrote:

    Top 10 reasons why Qysmia sales will be disappointing:


    #1: The drug is available in the generic form (Topirimate and Phentermine) for a fraction of the cost of Qysmia.

    #2: FDA approved Qysmia with a REMs. The drug can only be sold through handful of specialized mail-order pharmacies. It cannot be sold in neighborhood pharmacies.

    #3: You can kiss the European sales goodbye as European Medicine Agency has rejected the drug. Phentermine is banned in Europe, no surprise that EMA rejected.

    #4: Phentermine is banned in Canada. Don't be surprised when Canada rejects for the same reason.

    #5: Woman of child bearing age cannot take the drug because of risk of fetal defects. There goes a large majority of the patient population.

    #6: Anyone with heart disease cannot take the drug because of know side effect of elevated heart beats with phentermine. There goes another chunk of the patient population, specially elderly.

    #7: VVUS has not lined up even a single partner. The competitors in the obesity drug space have a major pharmaceutical companies as partners. ARNA has Eisai as a partner, OREX has Takeda.

    #8: Management sold tons of shares at the peak price of $30 after the FDA approval. Stock has not fallen to almost half of that price.

    #9: FDA had major problems with the Qysmia's FORTRESS clinical trial. Why Qysmia was approved inpite of that is anybodies guess

    #10: The competition drug Belviq has minimum side effects and will be used as first-in-line treatment by doctors

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