Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA +4.9%) and Japanese partner say their Belviq weight loss drug will be available to more people thanks to an agreement with pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark (CVS +0.6%), which means more than half of all Americans with insurance should now have access to the drug.
Aetna (AET) recently announced it would offer Belviq as a preferred brand to eligible patients as part of its pilot program to self-insured plan sponsors.
Belviq is approved for use in adults who are obese or who are overweight and have at least one serious medical condition, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
A little bit more air comes out of the previously scorching small-cap biotech names today. Among them: CytRx (CYTR -4.8%), Dyax (DYAX -5.2%), Galena (GALE -9.6%), Novavax (NVAX -9%), Arena (ARNA -6.3%), Synta (SNTA -10.8%), Zogenix (ZGNX -3.5%), Tonix (TNXP -8.4%).
Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA +5.7%) are notably higher in morning trading.
Perhaps helping the cause is SA contributor EnhydrisPECorp, who thinks "the tide is starting to turn" for the company and says the Street's generally bearish take on the shares may be the result of analysts "drinking too much egg nog."
Also mentioned in the article (and also sharply higher) are shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO +13.4%) which the author says may "double from current levels." The piece cites insider and institutional buying.
In a note dated November 25th, analyst Cory Kasimov commented, "While details are expectedly sparse at this point, the press release notes that the interim analysis 'clearly achieved' its goal in ruling out excessive CV risk associated with the product. With an imminent NDA resubmission anticipated, we believe Contrave is well on its way to being approved in the US by mid 2014 and potentially in Europe later that year. In our opinion, [this] development should finally trigger a substantial narrowing of the still meaningful valuation gap that exists between OREX and the other two pure play obesity companies, Arena (ARNA +0.6%) and Vivus (VVUS -0.4%)."
For good measure, some color on Empatic: This Phase 3 ready product also includes buproprion as one of its two components, similar to Contrave. By demonstrating a lack of CV risk in LIGHT, we believe that the value and future probability of success of Empatic ... also increases.
Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) expands its Belviq marketing agreement with Eisai (ESALF).
Eisai now has commercialization rights "for all countries worldwide, except for South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Israel, and New Zealand."
ARNA gets $60M upfront and is eligible for up to $176.5M in milestone payments and up to $1.56B in one-time purchase price adjustment payments.
ARNA will still recognize 31.5% of North American sales and 30.75% of sales in South America. Rates under new agreement: Europe, China, and Japan, 27.5%; 30.75% elsewhere. Rates may rise as high as 35% in Europe, China, and Asia on sales over $500M.
The companies also say they plan to "investigate the potential of Belviq in new areas, such as smoking cessation, a once-daily formulation, a fixed-dose combination with phentermine, as well as explore Belviq's impact on diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes." (PR)