Orexigen Therapeutics: Contrave Trial Enrolling at LIGHT Speed, Positive Implications for OREX, VVUS, and ARNA

This morning, Orexigen (NASDAQ:OREX) stated that the LIGHT Study, a trial requested by the FDA to evaluate cardiovascular risk for the company’s obesity treatment candidate, Contrave, is enrolling much faster than expected. Shares of OREX are up in pre-market trading on the news, with likely positive implications for all of the obesity drug companies, as the surprisingly strong enrollment demonstrates significant demand for new weight loss treatments. With the FDA decision on Vivus’ (NASDAQ:VVUS) Qnexa candidate approaching, investor attention on these stocks is at a high.

Since June, when the LIGHT Study began enrollment, more than 1,500 patients have enrolled in the trial at approximately 100 active sites, with 200 remaining sites scheduled to become active by the end of August. OREX expects it will have enough patients to conduct an interim analysis and report results in 1Q 2013, which could be a key catalyst for the stock. The company may re-apply for FDA approval of Contrave if the interim results are favorable. This essentially cuts the timeline originally expected for the interim analysis in half, according to the company. FDA’s decision on Qnexa, expected July 17th, is the next major catalyst for these three stocks, with the belief that more products on the market will fuel significant promotion and awareness of all new obesity products. With over 90 million obese people in the U.S., this market is expected to be quite large.