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How to Play the Booming Obesity Market in 2013

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Chris Hill: Obviously, here in America there is a huge and growing challenge with obesity. How do obesity drugs play into all of this?

David Williamson: Obesity drugs -- we actually had the first one approved in over a decade this year, by VIVUS. It's called Qsymia. It has a competitor in Arena Pharmaceuticals, whose drug Belviq was also approved. Qsymia is on the market. Belviq is not yet, so really it's going to be also a 2013 story, how these two drugs go after each other.

It's exciting news, in the fact that it's a landmark change. It's a pharmaceutical class that's had all sorts of issues. We've seen Meridia, Fen-Phen; these drugs have been pulled from the market. There have been health issues. There are serious safety issues with both of these drugs as well, so it remains to be seen.

The stocks have been huge success stories. They've been multibaggers in 2012, and I think that's why a lot of investors are excited, but now comes the hard part, which is selling the drugs. We'll see how these go, but as far as investors were concerned, this big run-up, and these were some of the top performing stocks in the whole sector, so a lot of attention on these first obesity drugs approved in a long time.

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  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2013, at 7:41 PM, ARNAstockup wrote:

    Your wrong...

    Arena (ARNA)was the first to be approved, not Vivus (VVUS). Furthermore, the safety issues lye with VVUS; birth defects and such. Furthermore, Vivus was denied by the EU. In addition, "DEA's designation of Belviq as a schedule IV means that the DEA believes Belviq is no more addictive than many cough syrups - seriously." here's is the article...

    please be more accurate there are many investors in both positions. I am not one of those investors, only a college student and I have did research on both companies...Arena is the clear winner!

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2013, at 9:22 PM, cosmsurg wrote:

    Don't you gentlemen do some research before you post here ?.

    It would help if you knew the basics. Let me educate you a little bit :).

    1. Belviq was the first to be approved. Come on man, The lady at the dry cleaners knows that!.

    2. The statement that both drugs are risky is based on what again?. Your personal medical knowledge?. Not much there obviously!

    3. The drugs are not going after each other. To the contrary, the success of one will boost the other.

    Wow what a lame "interview". I suggest a 101 course in biotech reporting...

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2013, at 10:01 PM, ARNAstockup wrote:

    The dry cleaners bit was too funny :), but seriously, what does he mean by "we..." like he had a hand in it.

    Something very important not to forget is that Arena actually has a huge marketing company behind their drug which Vivus does not. The marketing company Eisai has had successful launches for Pfizer, Glaxosmithkline, etc... Oh yeah, and Easis has patents ready-to-go in other countries including all of South America. With no debt, cash on hand and a potential buyout rumor, Arena is undervalued at these levels and should be upgraded by analysts.

    Plus, one thing that the street may or may not be pricing-in is that Arena gets a $65 million dollar landmark payment from Eisai which was contingent on the fact that Arena could get a DEA approval before 2013, and they did.

    This is my first post I hope I'm being respectful… It's just that they taught us to be very analytically and to justify ourselves. Other than a few hiccups David, you did a good job; I’m not being sarcastic, It would be cool to work at Motley Fool, get me a job :)

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2013, at 11:33 PM, RSRdriver wrote:

    Hey Areniacs, guess what, no one cares!. Everyone knows that Belviq is next to useless and still has safety issues. Who cares who came first! MD's are going to go with a drug that works.

    Some of you Areniac minions are pathetic. This is not a war or a competition. If you made the wrong trade in this sector WAKE up, sell and move on. It's not going to get any better for you..

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2013, at 7:19 AM, steveh800 wrote:

    Just follow the money....Institutions buying ARNA with 24 new positions since Sept 2012 and many increasing their positions. You will see a bigger jump in ARNA institutional holdings from the Dec. 2012 reports. ARNA will start selling Belviq shortly in the United States, European approval is a few short days away with a late March 2013 potential for launch in Europe. The stock has a double potential from this weeks closing pps by year end 2013 or sooner. So many positive events over the coming near term weeks. GLTA,

    Long since 2009.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2013, at 10:49 AM, RSRdriver wrote:

    Almost 70mil.short.

    Whether or not doctors will prescribe a barely working drug.

    EMA approval for Belviq is not likely with their not for profit system.

    All you ARNA pumpers have are dreams and the occasional phony buyout rumor.

    Face it, this is a $4 stock and thats where it would be without the BS and airhead retail longs.

    The play in this sector is OREX into their event schedule.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2013, at 2:20 PM, cosmsurg wrote:

    Mr. RSRdriver,

    I am a doctor, and I assure you that I am going to write HUNDREDS of Belviq prescriptions as soon as it hits the market. And I am not alone, the drug now is well known in the medical community.

    I will be using it alone or in combination with phentermine, because I have the right to use drugs "off label" i.e. any way I see fit!!

    No buyout needed. Just wait for the launch , and you WILL understand :)

    If you have friends, and one is a pharmacist, please ask her/him how the drug is selling within a couple of weeks of launch. It maybe a little late to liquidate your short position by then, but again since you are confident that OREX is it, the shirt you are going to lose may be made up for with OREX

    Best of luck to you. You sound like a real nice guy :)

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2013, at 7:37 PM, RSRdriver wrote:


    Iam a gynocologist here in Beverly Hills. I see hundreds of starlets per week!

    You Areniacs are always either pathetic or hilarious. You sir are both.

    The days of the great ARNA con are numbered.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2013, at 5:40 PM, cosmsurg wrote:

    That is Dr. cosmsurg to

    I feel sorry for the women of Beverly Hills Sir!.

    I hope your medical judgement is superior to your investment savvy.

    Perhaps soon you will be relocating to South LA, after you lose uh... your last speculum? LOL

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2013, at 3:40 PM, cosmsurg wrote:

    Ok Doctor. How is Orex working for you?. I hope you didn't short more Arna!. things must be getting pretty ugly for

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