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The U-T’s Terri Somers is reporting promising results for lorcaserin, the weight-loss drug developed by San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals. Late-stage clinical trials showed that the drug helped middle-aged obese and overweight people lose weight.

Last month I wrote about the potentially big year in store for Arena. Lorcaserin has the potential to be one of the biggest blockbuster drugs in San Diego biotech history.

From Somers’ story today:

After taking the drug for a year, almost half of the people receiving the drug lost at least five percent of their weight, compared to 20.3 percent of those people taking a placebo, said Arena Chief Executive Jack Lief. About 23 percent of the people taking lorcaserin lost 10 percent or more of their weight, compared to 7.7 percent of those taking a placebo.

The drug also showed it lowered cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, all important factors in heart disease, diabetes and other weight related health problems.

“This is a medically important amount of weight loss,” Lief said in a call with reporters this morning.

On Sunday, Somers wrote a feature story on Lief and other Arena employees who are betting their careers on lorcaserin.

DAVID WASHBURN

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