Obesity stocks underwhelmed expectations in 2014, but several catalysts and pieces of news could bring attention back to the sector.
Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OREX) made headlines frequently in 2014. In September, the FDA approved Orexigen's obesity drug Contrave.
The company is now looking to receive approval in the EU. On December 19, European regulators recommended approval.
This decision is expected before February 24, within 67 days of the approval recommendation. Orexigen is up almost 50 percent so far this year.
On January 7, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) announced that its autoimmune disease drug APD334 showed positive results in a Phase 1b trial.
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Arena's lead drug is Belviq, which is an FDA-approved drug for weight management. Arena traded down by nearly 50 percent in 2014 due to worse-than-expected sales numbers. However, Arena has implemented new sales strategies for the new year.
VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) also has an approved weight loss product called Qsymia. Qsymia is a phentermine and topiramate ER capsule that helps obese adults lose and keep weight off.
Qsymia sales have underwhelmed investors' expectations in 2014, and the stock traded down about 65 percent. Recently, however, North Tide Capital began buying a large stake in Vivus. Between December 31 and January 8, the firm bought a total of 12.5 million shares in the $3 range.
EnteroMedics Inc (NASDAQ: ETRM) is another obesity company that just received FDA approval on Wednesday morning for its Maestro System. The Maestro System is a surgically implanted device that delivers VBLOC vagal blocking therapy.
In other news, the FDA recently approved Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE: NVO)'s Saxenda as a treatment for obesity. Saxenda is a larger dose of the type 2 diabetes drug Victoza.
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