Why VIVUS Shares Popped

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of biotech company VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) climbed 10% today after its obesity pill prescriptions impressed Wall Street.

So what: The stock has slumped in recent months on initial slow sales of its new obesity drug Qsymia, but today's numbers suggest that the pill is finally starting to gain traction. VIVUS said it shipped 12,978 prescriptions of Qsymia in the four weeks ended Dec. 21, representing a 68% spike from the preceding period, reigniting optimism over the drug's blockbuster potential.

Now what: I'd expect the prescription momentum to remain positive. Qsymia's initial ramp-up was weighed down by a lack of insurance reimbursements, but with recent new coverage from the likes of Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) and Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX  ) , the company's long-term sales prospects are certainly looking better. So while VIVUS might still be too speculative for average investors, VIVUS' brightened picture makes it an interesting pick for biotech-savvy Fools.

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 January 07, 2013, at 1:37 PM, kthor wrote:

    "VIVUS said it shipped 12,978 prescriptions "

    are this the free 30 day trial shipments they were giving away?

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