In this report, I'd like to reference an older, published article, that takes a scholarly look at the 5-HT2c receptor written by scientists with no connection to Arena and was not written to 'sell and/or promote Lorcaserin (Belviq).' However, this is not just a step back in time as you will eventually understand the significant financial value Belviq represents to Arena and Arena shareholders who have been badgered by shorts of late. It may also hint to potential big pharma interest, but readers can drawn their own conclusion.
As is often discussed, Belviq is FDA approved for obesity, and secondarily, with positive diabetic effects. But Belviq is much more and I intend to prove that--
To be specific, in the scholarly article "Serotonin and drug reward: focus on 5-HT2c receptors" an investor such yourself will discover the potential commercial opportunities for a drug targeting the 5-HT2c receptor such as Belviq. These scientists, one from Schering-Plough Research Institute (now Merck) and the other from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada expand upon how a drug designed to target the 5-HT2c receptor presents a broader opportunity for "therapies for substance abuse disorders" (abstract). Meaning, Belviq's value may go well-beyond weight-loss and diabetes; to understand this is to grasp the investment potential Belviq may represent and why short hedge funds are at war for the eventual long climb up propped up by institutions such as Vanguard's Wellington Fund.
To understand the context of said scholarly article, the authors are aware and make reference to the historic understanding of the 5-HT2c receptor for treating obesity, but this expanded outlook for substance abuse disorders is not a trite observation, but represents the potential pioneering future for Belviq to be commercialized for other medical indications. Meaning, this is not a Long whim, but is supported by a decade plus of research well beyond the laboratories of Arena.
To simplify this instablog report, I will add what other medical indications scientists have explored targeting the 5-HT2c receptor and in certain cases: Lorcaserin (Belviq) -- the point being that Belviq's future regarding other indications is not "pie in the sky" or internet chat room banter. Short hedge funds in particular don't want this information going out to the public. Nevertheless, scientists from a variety of research labs and large pharmaceutical firms have been studying and tracking Belviq's progress/potential medical use for many years.
To stimulate your interest in reading the referenced article, here are some excerpts introduced by the medical indication:
Indeed, some workers have noted in a very limited separation between effective doses required to reduce food intake and, for example, ethanol self-administration, suggesting that such drugs may affect consummatory behaviours in general (PDF pg 1/Article pg 151).
2. Cocaine and Amphetamine addiction
From this brief overview, it can be seen that there are a number of inconsistencies in the effects of serotonergic manipulations on reward-related behaviour. Despite this, two general conclusions can be drawn. First, there is a consensus between different laboratories using different self-administered drugs, and different schedules of reinforcement that generalized elevations in 5-HT neurotransmission appear to reduce cocaine and amphetamine self-administration. The fact that such effects are seen using progressive ratio schedules of reinforcement suggests a reduction in the reinforcing effectiveness of the self-administered drug. This effect also seems to extend to reinstatement of drug-seeking behaviour as well. The second conclusion is that under some circumstances, reduced 5-HT function can enhance reward-related behaviour. This effect is not always observed, and inconsistencies between experiments may be due to differences between the type of reinforcer used, the method of reducing 5-HT function, and, in the case of 5-HT lesions, the pattern and extent of 5-HT depletion. (4/154)
3. Smoking Cessation
After a cursory introduction, the authors then move to the 5-HT2c receptor (Belviq's primary target). What is particularly fascinating is that the authors explore "Ro 60-0175" which elsewhere was compared in another study (be certain to view this) comparing R0 60-0175 versus Lorcaserin. In this other study conducted in Canada it is stated:
Inhibitory effects of 5-HT2C agonists against a nicotine cue overlap with doses effective in feeding tests highlighting bioequivalence against food and nicotine motivated behaviour. In addition to previously reported effects of lorcaserin and Ro 60-0175 against the stimulant and reinforcing property of nicotine and in a model of relapse -these experiments support the consideration of 5-HT2C agonists, such as lorcaserin, as treatments to support smoking cessation.
You the reader must go to PDF pg 6 / Article pg 156 to see the chart that examines the 5-HT2c receptor response in: food, cocaine, nicotine, and ethanol. Just remember, the novelty of Belviq is that it specifically targets the 5-HT2c receptor.
Now, if you are ready to dismiss Belviq's behavioral medicament potential, then you really ought to read "Evaluation of chemically diverse 5-HT2c receptor agonists on behaviours motivated by food and nicotine and on side effect profiles" published in April 2013. Here these authors years later report:
These studies support the utility of 5-HT2C agonists as a therapeutic approach to treat nicotine dependence. Plasma exposure levels after acute lorcaserin treatment suggest that equivalent dosages could be used to evaluate these drugs in obesity and smoking cessation trials. Finally, there may be differences in the side effect profiles between lorcaserin and CP-809101, raising the possibility for tolerability differences amongst 5-HT2C agonists. (My note: Indeed CP-809101 is genotoxic!)
What is the point? The point is simple:
1. The expanded commercial potential of Belviq is no secret to the wider pharmaceutical industry: weight-loss, diabetes, smoking cessation, alcoholism, cocaine addiction, etc.
2. Shorts are without ammo to counter over a decade of research outside Arena labs that supports Belviq's 5-HT2c target for expanded commercial opportunities.
3. Arena owns the proprietary rights to Belviq so all-comers must come to Arena. If you add in the combination discussions going on such as Eisai's plan to study with Arena Belviq + Phentermine, investors will grasp why the current short attack is all noise with no substance.
4. Consider the safety profile Belviq is gaining since FDA approval for obesity. The drug's safety record post-marketing is going to carry considerable weight towards future medical indications. Consider how Arena has brokered a low-risk/zero-cost Belviq study with IlDong (10 mg and 20 mg Belviq) and is about to launch a Belviq + Phentermine study with Eisai; it is plain to the observer that Arena is not sitting idle as chat boards banter, but is moving forward in a very strategic manner.
5. I would not be the least bit surprised if Arena announced additional partnerships for these other medical indications. For example, one of Arena's high level executives recently mentioned smoking cessation. Just about everyone knows that diabetes is on the table.
6. Some muse Belviq's multi-potential may be grounds for a much larger pharmaceutical firm to move in and buy-out Arena. That we don't know unless it were to happen, but if Belviq's 5-HT2c target is as the science supports, it's worth pondering.
Very unfortunately an instablog like this will get buried unless readers take it upon themselves to copy/paste, post links elsewhere, and/or use for their own study. You are welcome to make full use of this instablog as a non-published article.
For reasons this instablog represents, I maintain Arena is a VERY STRONG BUY now that it has dipped into the $4 range.
Disclosure: I am long ARNA.
Additional disclosure: SA authors and other authors are welcome to refer to and/or quote from my instablog assuming they credit said author. This unpublished instablog is not for investor advice under any circumstances, but represents Moral Investor's "Deeper Research".