This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Vivus Beats Arena Pharma With Obesity Drug Launch

Stocks in this article: VVUS ARNA

MOUNTAIN VIEW ( TheStreet) - Vivus (VVUS) announced the commercial launch of its weight-loss pill Qsymia Monday, beating rival Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) to first reach the bulging waistbands of obese Americans.

Qsymia hits (mail order) pharmacy shelves at an opportune time, coming just as doctors who treat obesity are gathering in San Antonio later this week for the Obesity Society annual meeting. Both Vivus and Arena are expected to have a presence at the meeting but only Vivus will have a new weight-loss pill available for doctors to prescribe once they return home to their patients.

Arena and its marketing partner Eisai are expected to launch Belviq early next year.

Vivus previously announced pricing for Qsymia -- ranging from $4-6 per day depending on the dosage strength -- that was in line with investor expectations.

Qsymia combines two drugs, phentermine and topiramate, that are available as generics for a combined price of around $1-3 per day. Will doctors choose to prescribe Qsymia to their obese patients or recommend the individual, generic components? Investors have been debating the question leading up to the drug's launch.

"Feedback from doctors indicates that generic substitution is unlikely to be widespread given the associated liability of either prescribing or dispensing the generic components separately so long as the product Qsymia is not made too cost prohibitive," said J.P. Morgan biotech analyst Cory Kasimov in a recent research report.

But in August, Jefferies analyst Thomas Wei downgraded Vivus, citing concerns that doctors will choose to prescribe the generic components of Qsymia instead of the branded (and higher priced) product.

With Qsymia now available in the U.S., investors and analysts will be watching daily and weekly prescription sales tracked by independent services like IMS Health and Wolters Kluwer.

Vivus shares were unchanged at $22.08 in early Monday trading. Arena shares were up 6 cents to $8.41. Both stocks have fallen since their respective weight-loss drugs were approved earlier this summer, reflecting investor uncertainty about the commercial potential of obesity drugs.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs