Biotech Company Fights the Fat

Vivus closer to anti-obesity drug

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Biotech fights the fat.

    The fight against fat is all over the news these days.  Everywhere we look, someone is complaining about our nation's obesity problem. But one Silicon Valley biotech company is actually doing something about it.

    Vivus, a Mountain View-based company, saw its stock price jump Monday morning after the Food and Drug Administration accepted its application to market an anti-obesity drug called Qnexa.  Vivus said that in human trials of its drug, patients reported "significant" weight loss, compared to those taking a placebo.

    All that remains now is final approval by the FDA could come as soon as October, according to Vivus president Peter Tam.

    It's a timely discovery. From kids to Kevin Smith, the weight issue is a weighty one. Here's a prediction:  2010 will be the year where the fat starts to hit the fan. 

    Vivus isn't alone in its quest to help you lose weight.  Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego also got a bump in its share price last week when it announced progress with its own weight loss drug, Lorcaserin.  Another company, Orexigen, said it expects to file for approval for yet another related drug later this year.

    The reason for the boom is not hard to explain.  Obesity is a big problem in the U.S. -- 10 times higher than in Japan, for example. That makes a drug to fight back a potential big seller.  Each of these companies know this, and so do their investors.  You can expect the race to heat up, as both those investors, and potential patients, clamor for drugs to fight the fat.