Vivus surges on fresh batch of promising obesity drug data

Vivus shares ($VVUS) surged 15 percent this morning as investors responded warmly to positive new data on the obesity drug Qnexa. Investigators took the wraps off of new clinical data that shows the drug helped reduce blood pressure as well as the need for blood pressure meds while offering an added improvement in bad cholesterol levels.

That data can be put to good use as Vivus works to reverse the FDA's decision to reject Qnexa until they can see some real advantages aside from weight loss in a broad group of patients. The agency had also raised safety concerns.

Michael Davidson, the director of preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago, tells Bloomberg that this new data represents a potential piece of the puzzle that Vivus will need to provide in order to gain an approval. "Weight loss is important but it's got to be associated with markers that mean that we're really making a difference to the patient."

This new data come after two years of treatment with Qnexa. At the top dose the drug triggered an 18.9 percent drop in the use of antihypertensive meds. Investigators also tracked a 26 percent reduction in levels of triglycerides. Davidson presented the data at the annual scientific meeting of The American College of Cardiology.

- see the Vivus release
- read the story from Bloomberg

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