NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 06/29/12 -- Shares of biotech companies in the anti-obesity market surged on the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the first weight loss pill since Roche Holding AG's Xenical in 1999. According to data from the National Institute of Health obesity related spending could rise to $343 billion in 2018. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) and Roche Holding Ltd. (PINKSHEETS: RHHBY).
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Arena Pharmaceuticals anti-obesity drug Belviq was approved by the FDA on Wednesday. The drug was cleared for use in obese/overweight adults who have at least one medical condition. Obesity has become a major problem in the U.S. as it is estimated roughly 35 percent of the population is obese.
"The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition," said FDA's drug center director, Dr. Janet Woodcock, in a statement.
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Three double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that Arena's Belviq along with diet and exercise was more effective than diet and exercise alone at helping patients lose 5% or more of their body weight after one year and managing the weight loss for up to two years. Shares of the company soared nearly 30 percent the day FDA's approval was announced.
Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. The company recently announced that the FDA approved Perjeta for people with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
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