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Vivus Inc.’s (VVUS - Snapshot Report) fourth quarter 2012 loss of 56 cents per share was wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 44 cents per share and the year-ago loss of 14 cents per share. The wider loss was due to higher operating expenses.

The company’s net product revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 came in at $2.0 million. The company did not record any revenues during the prior-year quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate stood at $4 million for the fourth quarter 2012.

For full year 2012, Vivus reported a loss of $1.42 per share, wider than the year-ago loss of 56 cents and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.30 per share.

The company’s portfolio comprises two approved products: Qsymia and Stendra (avanafil). Qsymia was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2012.

The FDA cleared Qsymia as an adjunct to a healthy diet (low on calories) and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in obese (Body Mass Index, or BMI - 30 or more) or overweight (BMI - 27 or more) adults suffering from at least one weight-related co-morbid condition. However, the CHMP had rendered a negative opinion on the marketing authorization application (MAA) for Qsymia.

Stendra was approved by the FDA in Apr 2012 for erectile dysfunction. The drug is under review in the EU WITH A decision from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) expected in the second quarter of 2013.

In the fourth quarter of 2012 research and development expenses were $7.8 million, up 45% year over year. Selling, general and administrative expenses shot up 670% to $50.3 million due to increased expenditure related to the commercialization of Qsymia.

We remind investors that apart from Qsymia, another weight-loss drug, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ARNA - Snapshot Report) Belviq, also received approval in the US last year. Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX - Snapshot Report) is also developing a candidate, Contrave, targeting the lucrative obesity market.

Vivus, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Biopharma companies that currently look more attractive include Cytokinetics, Inc. (CYTK - Snapshot Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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