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Company: Vivus (VVUS)
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April 11, 2011, 9:43 AM ET.Qnexa Trial Data is Good News for Vivus as Stock Rises. Article Comments (9) Health Blog HOME PAGE ». EmailPrintPermalinkTwitter

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By Katherine Hobson The past several months have not been particularly jolly for three experimental weight-loss drugs and their manufacturers, Vivus, Orexigen and Arena. One by one, the drugs have failed to be approved by the FDA without additional supporting data, slapping down the hopes of patients and investors that there’d finally be a new medical treatment for obesity.

But there’s some positive news today from Vivus about its drug Qnexa. As Dow Jones Newswires reports, a nearly 2,500-patient study showed that taking Qnexa led to an average weight loss of 28 pounds for those on the highest dose and 22 pounds for those on a lesser dose, compared to a loss of 4 pounds in the group taking a fake pill. Blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels also improved with Qnexa, according to the company’s announcement.

Shares in Vivus rose nearly 10% in premarket trading and were recently up about 3.3%, to $6.68.

Here’s the study, which is published online by the Lancet. Last week there was more good news on Qnexa, an update from a separate trial. The FDA in January asked Vivus to assess whether prior data can reveal whether topiramate, one of the drug’s components, can cause birth defects.

Orexigen also announced updated positive results last week for its drug, Contrave. The FDA has requested the drug undergo another clinical trial. The agency also rejected quick approval of Arena’s lorcaserin, saying in October that it wanted more information on the drug’s safety in rats and its efficacy in diabetes patients.

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