FDA Says Existing Applications for Obesity Drugs Unlikely to Be Affected by Panel Findings (VVUS) (ARNA) (OREX)

March 30, 2012 7:52 AM EDT
According to a Bloomberg headline, the FDA has said companies with existing applications for diet pills - like VIVUS (Nasdaq: VVUS) and Arena (Nasdaq: ARNA) - are "unlikely" to be affected by the panel's call Thursday on obesity drugs. An Administration spokesperson said the meeting was intended to update guidelines for these products.

The panel's comments come ahead of PDUFA dates related to VIVUS's Qnexa on April 17th and for Arena's lorcaserin on June 27th.

Trading in these stocks was volatile, to say the least, into Thursday's close. VIVUS shares -- as the extreme example -- surged about 10 percent ahead of news, plunged about 12 percent as the FDA advisory panel suggested a need for further study, and then closed up 4.5 percent.

Shares of VIVUS have been upgraded at Brean Murray this morning. Analysts at Jefferies took an opposing view, and actually cut their price target.

VIVUS shares are up about 2 percent in pre-market action, shares of Arena are down about 1 percent, and shares of Orexigen (Nasdaq: OREX) are down nearly 12 percent.

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