Arena shares shoot up on positive obesity data

Arena Pharmaceuticals got a much-needed boost from investors yesterday after releasing new data showing that patients who stuck with the treatment regimen in a clinical trial of its experimental obesity drug did much better than the placebo arm of the study.

Arena's stock jumped 25 percent after Arena announced that two thirds of the patients taking lorcaserin lost at least five percent of their body weight during the study compared to only about a third of the placebo group. And a third of the lorcaserin group lost at least 10 percent of their weight. Patients taking the drug experienced an average weight loss of 17.9 pounds compared to an average loss of 7.4 pounds for the placebo.

The northward march of shares yesterday wiped out a steep plunge in share value last March, when investors reacted poorly to the news that lorcaserin had only hit one of two goals in a study. The mixed results sparked considerable speculation that even if the company won an approval lorcaserin might win only anemic sales results. The focus now shifts to two large trials of the drug. which the developer plans to submit with an NDA later in the year. 

"Given the positive lorcaserin BLOOM results, we are focused on partnering efforts and realizing lorcaserin's significant commercial potential," Arena CEO Jack Lief said in a statement.

- check out the press release
- read the story from the San Diego Union-Tribune

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