Three pharmaceutical companies – Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA), VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) and Amarin Corporation, PLC (NASDAQ:AMRN) – have been intrinsically linked in the markets the last few weeks, as each of the companies have recently received FDA approval for their drugs, with the former two companies in a direct head-to-head battle over weight-loss pills.
The companies all seem to have their stocks rise and fall on each other’s news, and today’s news might be another example of that. VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) stock is up more than 9 percent today following a report that Lazard Capital Markets was upgrading VIVUS stock to a “buy” rating from “neutral,” saying the firm’s current patent battle with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will not have an adverse affect on the sale of weight-loss drug Qsymia, over which the patent disputes has evolved. The Lazard analysis report indicated that the possible resolution for the dispute with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) would be for VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) to send royalties for the sales of Qsymia, which contains the patent-disputed drug, topiramate.
This contrasts with an earlier report by Citron Research that doubted Qsymia’s overall success not only because of the patent litigation bt also because of safety and effectiveness concerns surrounding the drug.
In midafternoon trading Tuesday, VIVUS stock was up more than 9 percent to $23.20 a share.
And as it seems that the very same FDA aproved all thee companies’ drugs, if one company is seen to have positive momentum in its future sales of its drugs, then the same thgouth goes to the other two companies. As a result of this report, not only has VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) specifically benefitted, but ti appears the two rivals have benefited as well. Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) stock is up nearly 3 percent to $7.40 a share, while Amarin Corporation, PLC (NASDAQ:AMRN) is up nearly 4 percent to $11.60.
And we might want to get used to this, at least for a few more weeks. It’s possible that investors won’t be able to distinguish between these companies until their drugs actually reach market and investors start to see the competition unfold and which company will be able to more effectively monetize all their research and development. Only at point-of-sale may distinctions truly be made – unless one of the companies gets singled out one way or another, before then. Until then, the markets will likely see Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA), VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) and Amarin Corporation, PLC (NASDAQ:AMRN) as three peas in the same pharmaceutical industry pod.