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Arena’s New Weight-Loss Drug gets Mixed Reviews


Aired 4/20/09


The CEO of Arena Pharmaceuticals says he's very pleased by clinical trial results for the company's weight-loss drug, despite negative reaction from investors. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

The late-stage clinical trials are crucial to the drug Lorcaserin. And the trial results were mixed. People taking the drug did lose weight. But Lorcaserin missed a key FDA benchmark, which required the drug to perform at least five percent better than a placebo in the amount of weight a person loses. Arena stock dropped about thirty percent on news of the trial results. But Jack Lief, the CEO of Arena, says Lorcaserin has proven to be safe and effective. He says he's convinced Arena will get FDA approval and find a partner to make and distribute the drug.

"I think partners are more interested in having a safe drug that allows patients to lose weight, than having a very potent drug that would do harm to patients.," says Lief.

Arena Pharmaceuticals employs 400 people, whose jobs may depend on the success of Lorcaserin. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.

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