Arena Pharmaceuticals rises on positive obesity-drug data |

Arena Pharmaceuticals rises on positive obesity-drug data

NEW YORK – Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. stock rose to a four-year high Wednesday on news that its obesity drug showed statistically significant average weight loss in a Phase IIb trial, without apparent effects on heart valves or pulmonary artery pressures.Shares of San Diego-based Arena rose $2.04, or 18 percent, to $13.45 in midday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock traded at $14.25, above its 52-week high of $11.86 set Monday. The stock hasn’t traded this high since September 2001.The heart data was particularly important to analysts, given what happened with Wyeth’s popular diet drug “fen-phen,” which was pulled from the market in the late 1990s after cases of valvular heart disease and pulmonary hypertension in women.”This data suggests that (Arena’s obesity drug) is not interfering with the key (heart tissue) receptor implicated in the market withdrawal of Wyeth’s fenfluramine, although we will continue to need to see longer term data to fully rule out cardiovascular toxicities,” Piper Jaffray’s Thomas Wei wrote in a note Wednesday.Late Tuesday, Arena said that over the 12-week treatment period, data showed was a highly statistically significant average weight loss in patients taking its drug compared with the placebo group.In patients taking Arena’s drug, average weight loss was 4, 5.7 and 7.9 pounds in patients taking daily doses of 10 mg, 15 mg and 20 mg, respectively. Patients taking the placebo lost 0.7 pounds on average.Piper Jaffray makes a market in the company’s stock and received compensation for investment banking from the company in the past 12 months.Vail, Colorado

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