Are the Shorts Right About Obesity Drugs?

While Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA  ) and VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) , makers of the obesity drugs Belviq and Qsymia, respectively, both garner a lot of attention on Fool.com, they also have attracted the attention of the short sellers. In this video, Motley Fool health-care analyst David Williamson talks about the "buy the run-up, short the launch" trend, and whether the short-sellers are right not to believe in these stocks.

The potential market for obesity drugs is massive, but so are the risks. If you're looking for more information on the top two obesity drug players, grab copies of our premium research reports on Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS today. In the reports, our senior biotech analyst, Brian Orelli, Ph.D., breaks down each company's strengths and weaknesses and explains the critical issues you need to know about. News in this space moves fast, so both reports come with a full year of updates. Click now for exclusive information on Arena and VIVUS.


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  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2012, at 4:05 PM, AlanPithy wrote:

    Shorts are 100% wrong. Arena's drug Belviq is a good obesity drug. It is also a great anti-diabetes drug. The marketing plan is to roll it out to endocrinologists to help their BMI>27 patients lose 5-15% body weight while reducing their FG by 27% and their A1C levels by up to 0.9.

    Short funds are polling the GPs and asking if they will prescribe a weight loss drug. Most will say no, for now. But once the GPs see the efficacy of this tolerable drug in how it helps their moderately overweight prediabetic patients not only lose weight but also push away from the diabetes danger zone, it will gain much wider adoption. There are 20 million diabetics, but there are 80 million pre-diabetics, half of whom are predicted to become diabetic by 2020. Every doctor is aware of this epidemic. And every American should worry that the $200 billion cost to treat diabetic patients will balloon to over $600 billion a year if we don't stop the trend. Belviq is one new effective tool that can be taken by prediabetics to help prevent diabetes while they work to improve their body mass index.

    Not to mention Belviq striaght helps people who already have diabetes, and may eventually be combined with Phentermine to accelerate weight loss, or with Metformin to make a more effective once-a-day anti-diabetes medication.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2012, at 2:34 AM, Foreeverlong wrote:

    Worthless article!

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2012, at 8:16 AM, mrmarkaallen wrote:

    VVUS is restricted with REMS due to dangerous side effects like birth defects and memory loss. There marketing is also limited by the FDA preventing them from advertising directly to the public. They do not have a partner to help marketing and share in the cost of the many post marketing studies the FDA has requested including CV studies not addressed by their pre approval trials.

    ARNA is not restricted with REMS, they have a partner that will cover 90% of the post approval trials most of which address Belviq use in children as requested by the FDA.

    Although trial results showed VVUS's Q to be more effective this is not the case. VVUS used pre trial screening which selected responders. They also structured their trial differently preventing patience from using other forms lot weight loss.

    In the end I believe VvUS's combination will not compare to ARNA's Belviq given the safety issues. Belviq also offers glycemic control and will be used in combination to achieve superior weight loss with far fewer side effects.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2012, at 12:18 PM, BSDetector wrote:

    Shorts were absolutely right about VVUS. I in fact shorted VVUS when it hit the crazy $30 figure.

    The high short interest in ARNA only exists to assist institutions in gaining a foothold of 70% or more shares. This has indeed been a challenge of a lifetime for the guys who bet on the wrong horse (VVUS) to begin with.

    I have no opinion on the horse that has yet to leave the gate.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 10:15 AM, SamFreedom wrote:

    I'm long ARNA and am starting to think that hack journalism speculation articles like these are jerking. They keep the wishy washy investors out, call the shorts in and it ignores things like no derby and being bankrolled by ESSAI who is no dummy.

    That means huge alike in our near future.

    Three cheers to the idiots!

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