Why VIVUS Inc. Shares Slimmed Down

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of VIVUS , a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to treat unmet medical needs such as obesity and sexual health, nosedived as much as 15% after reporting disappointing third-quarter earnings results.

So what: For the quarter, VIVUS recognized $27.4 million in revenue, although $21 million came from its licensing agreement to commercialize and market erectile dysfunction drug Spedra from Menarini Group in more than 40 European countries. Obesity drug Qsymia, on the other hand, delivered just $6.4 million in sales. Net loss rose 19% to $48.2 million, or $0.48 per share. By comparison, Wall Street was forecasting a narrower loss of just $0.39 per share. VIVUS also announced that it would be reducing its workforce by 17%, or 20 employees, excluding its sales force, and improving efficiencies in other areas of its operations to produce cost-savings of $6 million to $8 million by the end of next year.

Now what: Amid the announced licensing agreements with Menarini Group to market Spedra and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals to market Stendra, and underneath its cost reduction plan, investors really just wanted to see Qsymia sales improve and they hardly budged. Through the first nine months of the year, Qsymia sales have totaled just a paltry $16 million, and we can't really blame insurers anymore because many of them have gotten on board by covering Qsymia. Qsymia certainly offered the most impressive weight-loss reduction percentages in clinical trials relative to Arena Pharmaceuticals' Belviq, but the concern has always been that Belviq's more favorable safety profile would trump Qsymia's weight-loss advantage. Thus far both drugs have been somewhat of a bust, but I still feel Belviq has the slight upper hand in this battle. With that being said, I'm still not personally touching VIVUS here even after today's drop.

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The article Why VIVUS Inc. Shares Slimmed Down originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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