Shares of Arena soar on potential for diet drug
The pharmaceutical company awaits results of an FDA panel's discussion on rival Vivus' diet drug.
Investors were sweeping up shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) today ahead of a U.S. Food & Drug Administration panel meeting on rival Vivus' (VVUS) diet drug Qnexa -- the first potential U.S. prescription weight-loss drug in years.
An FDA advisory panel will discuss Qnexa to determine whether its weight-loss benefits outweigh any side effects, such as cardiovascular risks, that have plagued diet drugs in the past.
FDA staffers said earlier this week that they were also concerned about potential risks for congenital defects, psychiatric problems such as depression, memory loss and other cognitive issues and increased body acids.
Shares of Vivus were halted pending the outcome of the panel, but Arena's stock surged 86 cents, or 20%, to $5.14 on optimism that Qnexa, and later its own diet drug Lorcaserin, will be approved.
"Imagine what a drug can do that doesn't have side effects and removes more weight," Leerink Swann analyst Steve Yoo told Thomson Reuters.
The FDA will weigh the panel's recommendation before making a final decision on the drugs. The FDA does not have to follow the recommendations of its panels, but it typically does.
Orexigen Therapeutics' (OREX) Contrave is a third diet drug the FDA will consider. Shares were up 20 cents, or 3.5%, to $5.75.
Arena shares also got a boost after data from a two-year clinical trial for Lorcaserin showed that users lost more weight than those taking a placebo. The results are published in the current edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Last year, prescription and over-the-counter diet drugs brought in just $381.5 million in 2009, according to IMS Health.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 added just over a point, holding its weekly gain at 1.0% while the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.
The major averages began the day on an upbeat note, but relinquished their opening gains during the first 90 minutes of action. The early sentiment was boosted by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report for February (175K versus Briefing.com consensus 163K), but a closer look into the report suggested that ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'