August 6, 2013 / 8:15 PM / 4 years ago

Vivus 2nd-qtr diet pill sales below estimates, loss widens

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Sales of Vivus Inc’s obesity pill fell far short of analysts’ estimates for the second quarter, indicating that new CEO Anthony Zook faces the daunting task of boosting uptake of the first weight-loss drug to be launched in more than a decade.

April-June net product revenue, reflecting sales of the diet drug Qsymia, was $5.5 million, compared with $4.1 million in the quarter ended March. This was well below analysts’ average estimate of $12.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss widened to $55.5 million, or 55 cents per share, from $24.0 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected a loss of 44 cents per share.

Qsymia, launched last September, is Vivus’s sole product on the market and its only revenue driver. Qsymia’s launch strategy drew a lot of shareholder criticism, leading to a board and management overhaul brought about by largest investor First Manhattan Co last month.

Vivus shares closed at $14.73 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

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