VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS), Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA), Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX): Who Will Be the Winner in the Fight Against Obesity?

The third, and probably the most important, player in the sector is Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX), which hopes to launch its obesity drug Contrave sometime next year. Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) will likely face an easier route to approval due to the experiences of Arena and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS). The company will have the benefit of knowing what exactly the FDA wants. Also, Contrave is a combination of already available drugs, which should allow the company to launch the drug immediately if it’s approved. Contrave is believed to fall between Qsymia and Belviq in terms of efficacy — Qsymia has the highest efficacy among these three drugs. Entering the market, Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) will have the benefit of learning from VIVUS and Arena. As a result, I believe the company will be able to launch its drug better.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) has almost 75% institutional ownership at the moment, and the stock has gained about 72% in the past 12 months. At the same time, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) have lost 13.3% and 40.6%, respectively. Institutional ownership and the trend in the stock price indicate that the market has more confidence in Orexigen than its competitors.

Summary
It is extremely difficult to pick a clear winner in this sector. However, I believe Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) will edge its competitors by a small margin. Contrave is supposed to have better efficacy than Belviq and a safer profile than Qsymia, which might give it an edge in the market. However, the final position will be determined by the cost, insurance, physician choice and the preference of the patient.

The article Who Will Be the Winner in the Fight Against Obesity? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Ishtiaq Ahmed.

Ishtiaq Ahmed has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.