Chris Lau, Kapitall: Arena and a partner will expand marketing efforts for a weight loss drug, but is there more room to grow? Shares in Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) soared after the company extended its agreement with its partner Eisai for the company's weight loss drug Belviq. Bearishness had continued to build in its shares with short float of around 26%. The stock recently hit a new low at $4.05. Should investors expect the 17% rally on November 8 to hold? Losses narrow Arena reported a loss of $0.08 per share, which beat consensus by $0.04 per share. Revenue was $3.6 million. In its quarterly report, Arena said it would double its sales force to 400 representatives by this December. [Read more on Healthcare from Kapitall: Biotech Stocks Climb and Fall on Catalysts in 2013] This will widen the reach to physicians in the US by 65,000. Advertising was also launched last quarter directly to the consumer. And marketing partner Eisai included a 15-day free trial voucher for Belviq.
- 31.5% of product sales, or $1.7M, was recognized in Q3.
- R&D expenses rose to a healthy $14.59 million, up from $11.6 million last year.
- Cash also rose to $180.7 million, up from $156.09 million last year.
The potential side benefits of Belviq in reducing smoking cravings and in diabetes could also mean the drug reaches a wider patient base. Arena is investigating this possibility, and you can imagine its competitors will too.(Written by Chris Lau, a Kapitall Writer. Disclosure: Author is long ARNA.)