Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA +5%) says Belviq marketing partner Eisai (ESALF.PK) is set to double the size of its sales force for the weight-loss drug by December.
The move will "will enable Eisai to reach approximately 65K physicians in the U.S.," ARNA notes.
Eisai says the expansion "demonstrates the success ... gained in discussing the [drug's] potential value within the payor community, and the subsequent agreements ... reached with many ... payor partners." (PR)
Worth noting: In a bearish note late last month, Credit Suisse predicted Eisai would need to hire additional reps in order for the companies to hit the bank's (lowered) Belviq estimates.
A downbeat note out of Credit Suisse hits shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA -6.6%) hard in early trading.
CS slashes Belviq estimates for Q4, FY14, and FY15 to $12M (from $36M), $157M, and $325M, noting that although "these are substantial cuts ... getting to [the] new numbers will still require exponential growth [and] will require Eisai (ESALF.PK) to hire additional reps."
Other (decisively bearish) takeaways: Profitability is now forecast for 2017 (versus 2016 previously), "slower ramp results in lower royalties and also defers the timing of milestone payments," the company "may need to do another round of financing next year."
A volunteer who was given Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA -0.15%) APD811 treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in a Phase Ib trial experienced a heart rhythm disorder, sparking concerns over the drug's safety.
The trial investigator believes that the disorder could be related to the treatment.
Arena had said yesterday that "no serious adverse events were observed" in the testing, but has now gone back on that.
Despite the problem, Arena still intends to start Phase II trials for APD811 in Q1 2014.
PAH occurs when lung arteries constrict, causing the heart to work harder. (8-K)