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EnteroMedics Weight-Loss Device Is A Pulsing Placebo

However, we can make an educated guess that the placebo-adjusted EWL of 8.5% equates to about 8 pounds lost over the course of a year-long course of treatment. For a patient with a BMI of 41, weighing 240 pounds, that translates into 3% weight loss over one year, or roughly the same percentage weight loss achieved by Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA - Get Report) recently approved weight loss pill Belviq. Vivus' (VVUS - Get Report) weight-loss pill Qsymia is more effective than VBLOC.

Of course, Belviq and Qsymia are pills easily swallowed. VBLOC requires a device to be implanted in the abdomen and turned on 9-12 hours per day.

EnteroMedics will have a real challenge convincing FDA to approve a minimally effective weight-loss device based on data from two failed phase III studies. Even if approved, the commercial potential is tiny given inferiority to more convenient pills.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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