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Obesity Hype Meets Harsh Reality

This month, Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA  ) and VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) reported first-quarter earnings, and the results continued to be unimpressive, with both companies' obesity drugs having trouble gaining any traction. Neither drug has broken the $10 million-per-quarter mark, putting them a long way away from their blockbuster potential.

In the following video, senior biotech specialist Brian Orelli and health-care analyst David Williamson discuss why the drugs have struggled despite the large market, noting that there are issues with both patients and doctors that the companies have to overcome.

The duo also discuss Orexigen's (NASDAQ: OREX  ) Contrave, a potential third player that should hear from the FDA by June 10. Orexigen was vying for approval around the same time as Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS but was delayed because the FDA wanted a cardiovascular safety study performed. Given the sales so far, the delay doesn't seem to have been particularly detrimental to Orexigen.

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

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 May 27, 2014, at 9:21 PM, Foreeverlong wrote:

    "Obesity Hype". Are you kidding?

    Why are you comparing the sales growth of Belviq to Qsymia without explaining the full story of what is going on and why? And, No, I am not getting frustrated at all with the sales growth of Belviq, because I know what the dynamics of the situation are, and that ultimately the drug will be a tremendous success. But,I am a Motley Fool subscriber, and I am getting sick of this garbage that you are producing about Belviq in relation to Vivus and Contrave.

    Qsymia is not in the slightest way comparable to Belviq. Qsymia (Vivus) is failing because physicians know that they can order the two "generic" components of Qsymia cheaper than the combined form (Qsymia). I look back on VIVUS and think how smart management was to sell so many of their shares in the $20 to $30 range. They made a fortune on the stock while many of their shareholders took losses.

    Belviq on the other hand (according to the Dir. of the FDA) is a "novel" drug. Responders to Belviq are experiencing outstanding results. Contrave's Orexigen is yet to be approved, and many say will never be approved. Time will tell.

    So I ask, why are you intentionally writing and producing these "flyby" analysis's of Belviq that are both inaccurate and misleading for uninformed investors?

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2014, at 10:25 PM, Vanmusicblues wrote:

    The drugs are dogs

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2014, at 10:36 PM, Foreeverlong wrote:

    Van the town idiot has posted.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2014, at 4:20 AM, marp11 wrote:

    VVUS and OREX longs still need to get out and ARNA shorts need to cover those 50,00,000 shares before ARNA explodes higher.


  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2014, at 11:21 AM, foolfafa wrote:


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Brian Orelli

Dr. Orelli is a Senior Biotech Specialist. He has written about biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies for The Motley Fool since 2007.

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Related Tickers

8/31/2015 3:59 PM
ARNA $2.71 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Arena Pharmaceutic… CAPS Rating: **
OREX $2.77 Down -0.12 -4.15%
Orexigen Therapeut… CAPS Rating: **
VVUS $1.13 Down -0.02 -1.74%
VIVUS, Inc. CAPS Rating: **