CENTER STAGE: Vivus and Arena Drugs Attract Anxious Uncertainty

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The Street’s latest FDA Drug Approval Contest received record participation from investors who were asked to predict the likely outcome of five significant FDA events expected in June and July. The previous contest had a respectable success ratio of 60 percent in the predictions thrown up by its participants, and that could be reason enough to take a close look at what they expect this time around.

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Anti-obesity rival drugs by Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS) and Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA) were in focus. Investors expect both to garner final approval for their Qnexa and lorcaserin drugs, respectively. For Qnexa, 77 percent investors predict FDA approval before July 17, while 19 percent fear rejection – the remaining 4 percent feel the decision would be put off again. Investors are less confident on the prospects of lorcaserin – only 46 percent expect approval on June 27, while the rest of the investors are split down the middle on a rejection or a delayed decision.

Amarin’s (NASDAQ:AMRN) fish oil pill, AMR101, is likely to be approved on July 26, predict 76 percent of the investors. Only 5 percent expect it to be rejected, while 19 percent say the FDA will postpone.

Though multiple myeloma drug Carfilzomib, by Onyx Pharma (NASDAQ:ONXX), is expected to clear the FDA advisory panel Wednesday, according to 77 percent participants, only 35 percent expect it to be finally approved. It appears they were on the mark, considering the FDA raised Monday a serious question mark on the drug’s safety and its overall risk-benefit.

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