Arena touts safety profile of obesity drug

The analysts were buzzing this morning about Arena Pharmaceuticals' chances of a major partnership pact for its obesity drug lorcaserin after hearing that a review of the late-stage drug demonstrated no heart safety issues after 12 months of use. That's been a key issue for Arena, whose drug looks much like the Wyeth obesity therapy that was pulled after demonstrating heart valve risks. Efficacy data from the Phase III trial remains blinded until the trial is completed.

"We believe that this exposure duration, even under a conservative interpretation of the literature, would have been sufficient to observe a fenfluramine like effect on heart valves if present," said Arena CEO Jack Lief in a statement.

"The 12-month data substantially de-risks the lorcaserin development program and should place (Arena) in a stronger position to negotiate a major commercialization partnership for the drug," writes Oppenheimer analyst Bret Holley.

- see the release
- read the report from Dow Jones

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