Wall Street’s reaction Friday to Arena Pharmaceuticals’ latest release of clinical trial data on its obesity drug lorcaserin wasn’t as bad the last time it released data on the drug. But it wasn’t exactly great either.

Biocom CEO Joe Panetta says the Street doesn’t get it.

The stock closed up 5.5 percent following the release, which showed that lorcaserin met one of two weight-loss benchmarks set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding obesity drugs. The data was for the most part identical to data Arena released in March on the drug. Then, the stock dropped 28 percent on the news.

Word on Wall Street in March was that Arena CEO Jack Lief overhyped the results, which were good, but not great. Just more than 47 percent of patients taking the pill lost 5 percent or more of their body weight compared to 25 percent of patients who were on a placebo. Word now is that the data is still good, but not great, and FDA approval might be difficult.

“This data is just not that strong,” said John McCamant, editor of the Bay-Area based Medical Technology Stock Letter.

Panetta said McCamant and other analysts are over-analyzing.

“This is a different kind of a product — this isn’t about the difference between 4 percent weight reduction and 5 percent,” Panetta said. “It’s the degree to which it will help people move toward a goal. It is a very different product than others in that regard.”


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