NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -06/29/12)- Shares of biotech companies in the anti-obesity market surged on the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the first weight loss pill since Roche Holding AG's Xenical in 1999. According to data from the National Institute of Health obesity related spending could rise to $343 billion in 2018. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX) and VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS).
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Arena Pharmaceuticals anti-obesity drug Belviq was approved by the FDA on Wednesday. The drug was cleared for use in obese/overweight adults who have at least one medical condition. Obesity has become a major problem in the U.S. as it is estimated roughly 35 percent of the population is obese.
"The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition," said FDA's drug center director, Dr. Janet Woodcock, in a statement.
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Orexigen Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. Orexigen's anti-obesity drug Contrave is a combination of two well-established drugs, naltrexone and bupropion, in a sustained release formulation. The company plans to re-apply for FDA approval within two years. Shares of Orexigen soared over 20 percent Wednesday.
VIVUS' Qnexa is an investigational, once-per-day, weight-loss therapy that combines low doses of two agents approved by the FDA, phentermine and topiramate, in a controlled-release formulation. The FDA is scheduled to decide on VIVUS' Qnexa by July 17. Shares of the company have gained over 15 percent in the last month.
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