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Is Vivus a Rudderless Ship?

First Manhattan fought a protracted battle with Vivus management, claiming it had botched the launch of obesity drug Qsymia. Since approval midway through July 2012, shares of Vivus have plunged more than 50% as the drug has struggled to find traction in the market.

First Manhattan argued that its new board would help find a marketing partner as competitor Arena Pharmaceuticals has with its competing product Belviq, and it won enough support that an agreement between the company and the hedge fund culminated in the resignation of six board members arrival of a new CEO, Tony Zook. But after roughly a month on the job, Zook stepped down for health reasons. Does this development potentially throw Vivus off course?

In this video, health-care analyst David Williamson discusses why Vivus investors shouldn't be worried over the news, given management's turnaround plan and, more importantly, the fact that ever since Qsymia was allowed in retail pharmacies, its sales have showed strong growth.

Can Vivus pick up its lagging sales and fend off the competition, or will Arena Pharmaceuticals reign supreme in the obesity space? If you're in the dark, grab copies of The Motley Fool's premium research reports on Vivus and Arena Pharmaceuticals to stay up to date. Senior biotech analyst Brian Orelli gives investors the must-know information, including an in-depth look at the obesity market and reasons to buy and sell both stocks. Click now for an exclusive look at Arena and Vivus -- complete with a full year of free updates -- today.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:27 AM, marp11 wrote:

    strong growth? after 1 year scrips and most telling REFILLS plunging as BELVIQ ramps up.

    with DTC on Belviq NOW in OPRAH MAGAZINE and numerous others...its quite clear..BELVIQ

    is the new blockbuster.

    but keep trying,,,we enjoy the humor

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:31 AM, marp11 wrote:

    refills on Q crap plunging weekly along with new scrips


    BELVIQ refills growing bigger by the week.

    DTC starting and by holiday time, Q will be filing for chap 7 and BELVIQ/ARNA/EISAI

    will be on every tv magazine radio twitter Fb ect.

    game over

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:26 AM, RSRdriver wrote:

    Vivus has an obesity drug THAT WORKS, and is not way over priced.

    Arena on the other hand has a marginal (the FDA said it!) and way over priced drug!

    All the advertising in the world will not help them convince doctors to prescribe it and the nimbers are proving this.

    Dendreon has a drug that works and doctors rejected that because of a cost benefit ratio. Their ads were all over the place when they crashed to almost nothing because of doctors rejecting it!

    Arena is also a major law suit waiting to happen IMO!

    You would think that these bagholders who continue to ignore the obvious and post their hopes and dreams on articles like this would have learned after taking a huge loss since "approval"!

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 1:17 PM, gazoo99 wrote:


    You want to point out loses..... Look at VVUS!

    Down from over $30.00 / share to.... drum roll please,,,,,,,,

    Under $10.00 bucks...... now that's a huge loss!

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 7:16 AM, bmc007 wrote:

    Of course it would be better if BOTH drugs were blockbusters as it would signal real strength in the sector but somehow VVUS looks like a dog without a master right now and ARNA is slowly but surely doing everything right to launch Belviq as it should be launched.

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