Vivus Falls as Drugmaker Awaits FDA Decision on Obesity Pill

Vivus Inc. (VVUS) fell the most in more than four months as the drugmaker awaits a decision from U.S. regulators on whether to approve its obesity drug Qnexa.

Vivus declined 7.8 percent to $26.46 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day decline since Feb. 28. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to decide today on whether the treatment can be sold in the U.S.

It’s not unusual for shares to be volatile on days when an FDA decision is due, Jason Butler, an analyst at JMP Securities in New York, said in an interview. The decision “could have a pretty significant impact on the stock,” said Butler, who expects Qnexa to be approved.

Vivus is seeking a boost in sales from Qnexa, which may contribute $1.25 billion to revenue in 2016, according to the average of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Mountain View, California-based company is competing against Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) and Eisai Co. (4523), which had their weight-loss treatment Belviq approved by the FDA on June 27.

Arena’s Belviq was the first weight-loss pill approved by the FDA since Roche Holding AG’s Xenical in 1999. Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) is also developing a weight-loss pill called Contrave with Osaka, Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (4502)

The FDA in 2010 had rejected weight loss pills from Arena and Vivus on safety concerns.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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