Orexigen leads obesity market with FDA backing

Drugmakers with an eye on the obesity market got some good news this week when an FDA panel issued a positive recommendation for Orexigen Therapeutics' obesity drug Contrave.

Drugmakers with an eye on the obesity market got some good news this week when an FDA panel issued a positive recommendation for Orexigen Therapeutics' obesity drug Contrave.

Analysts told Reuters that they expect Contrave to be approved in 2011 and sales could hit $1.2 billion by 2018. 

Earlier this year, Abbott Laboratories pulled Meridia, its diet drug, from the market due to increased risks of heart attacks and strokes as well as pressure from the FDA. In addition, two other pharmaceuticals companies - Vivus and Arena Pharmaceuticals - failed to win FDA backing for their obesity drugs this year because of safety concerns.

What is interesting, though, is that shares for Vivus and Arena both rose this week following the Orexigen news.

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