Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA), VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS): Third Obesity Drug Moves Closer to FDA Approval

Late, but not out
Usually, launching third puts a company at a disadvantage. Doctors get used to prescribing the early movers, so the latecomers have to have a distinct advantage to take market share.

Fortunately for Orexigen, few doctors have prescribed either Qsymia or Belviq, so Orexigen won’t be fighting to get them to switch.

Qsymia’s and Belviq’s launches have been relatively weak not because doctors don’t want to prescribe the drugs specifically, but because they don’t want to prescribe any obesity drugs. Memories of fen-phen and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)’s Meridia are still fresh in their minds, and it’s going to take time and marketing muscle to convince them to prescribe them to patients in mass.

I think Orexigen will be fine if Contrave can produce positive data and the company resubmits to the FDA by the end of the year. VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA)’s marketing partner, Eisai, will have done all the heavy lifting, and Orexigen and its marketing partner, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, can swoop in with safety data that the other two don’t have, potentially registering the best launch of the three.

The article Third Obesity Drug Moves Closer to FDA Approval originally appeared on and is written by Brian Orelli.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 

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