Vivus, Arena Obesity Drugs Will Be Approved, Investors Say

Updates with current stock prices.

BOSTON ( TheStreet) --Both Vivus ( VVUS) and Arena Pharmaceuticals ( ARNA) are expected to receive final approval for their rival obesity drugs although confidence in the former is significantly higher, according investors who submitted entries to TheStreet's latest FDA Drug Approval Contest.

Nearly 77% of investors predict FDA will approve Vivus' Qnexa on or before July 17 -- an overwhelming margin compared to the 19% of investors predicting rejection. Another 4% of investors believe FDA will delay the Qnexa decision for a second time.

By comparison, 46% of the same investors are forecasting FDA approval of Arena's lorcaserin on June 27. Those who believe FDA will reject lorcaserin or delay the decision are split almost evenly -- 26% vs. 28%.

Vivus shares were up 5% to $26.93 while Arena shares rose 11% to $9.31 in Monday afternoon trading.

TheStreet asked investors to predict the outcome of five, key FDA regulatory events taking place in June and July. The response to the contest set a record with 134 entries, more than double the submissions received for TheStreet's prior FDA Drug Approval Contest.

If the "wisdom of crowds" theory is correct, the contest should prove to be a relatively accurate barometer for predicting the FDA approval decisions. For the record, investors participating in the last contest were correct 60% of the time -- a respectable measure of accuracy. That contest, held earlier this year, encompassed half as many entries but three times as many drug approval events as the current contest.

Amarin ( AMRN) also fares well in the current contest, with 76% of investors predicting FDA approval of the company's prescription fish-oil pill on July 26. A scant 5% of investors believe Amarin's AMR101 will be rejected, while 19% says FDA will delay a decision.

Investors are split on the future of Onyx Pharmaceuticals' ( ONXX) multiple myeloma drug carfilzomib. While a large majority (77%) believes this Wednesday's FDA advisory panel will result with in a positive recommendation backing carfilzomib's approval, only 35% believe FDA will follow on July 27 and actually grant approval.

A majority of investors (55%) participating in the contest believe FDA will reject carfilzomib.

Special note: Contestants submitted their predictions before FDA released carfilzomib briefing documents Monday morning. In its review, FDA raised serious concerns about the carfilzomib safety and questioned the overall risk-benefit of the drug for multiple myeloma patients.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

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