Company news: Vivus and Genentech

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Roche's Genentech unit is experiencing the reverse of the patent cliff—it actually overestimated the generic impact on osteoporosis drug Boniva and is now scrambling to address a production shortfall, reported FiercePharmaManufacturing. An exec said the drugmaker had mistakenly expected generics makers to flood the market with copycat Boniva. When that didn't happen, lower manufacturing of Boniva triggered a shortage of the injectable formulation. A solid form of the drug went generic in March.

Although the FDA is on a roll of obesity-drug approvals, word is that branded slimming drugs may have competition from lower-tech variation, reported the Associated Press. The wire service quoted analyst Thomas Wei as saying he believes more doctors will just prescribe Qsymia's components instead of the prepackaged drug itself. Vivus' weight-loss drug consists of the anticonvulsive topiratmate and the appetite suppressant phentermine, both of which are available as generics, and therefore cheaper than the branded combination of those two drugs, Qsymia. Wei's investor note, in which he cut his Vivus forecast, sent shares of the firm tumbling, AP reported.
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