|More on Biotech 13 Drugs Facing FDA Approval Decisions|
Joel K. emails, "Thanks for your insight. I use to be a doubter of your columns but after getting burned multiple times by going contrarian, I have started listening and stopped losing. I would like to hear your thoughts on Vivus (VVUS - Get Report) and whether it is a good speculative play. I was impressed with the phase 3 erectile dysfunction drug data that was just released and I think the obesity drug has a good shot of approval." I'm on record ranking the three obesity drug stocks in this order: 1) Vivus, 2) Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA - Get Report) and 3) Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX). My view seems to be in line with the market. Vivus is outperforming its weight-loss peers so far this year, even with the stock at $!0.60 down from its 52-week high of $13.68 reached last month. I do worry that Vivus' run is done, or slowing down, now that we're less than a month away from the FDA advisory panel on July 15 which will review the company's weight-loss drug Qnexa. A positive recommendation from the FDA panel is no sure thing. Qnexa does a good job in helping obese patients lose weight, but the safety and tolerability of the two-drug regimen is a question mark.