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Weight-Loss Treatment to Get Review

June 24, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Paris-based drug maker Sanofi-Aventis said Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agreed to review an experimental weight-loss treatment that analysts say may exceed $1 billion in annual sales.

Acomplia, or rimonabant, is the first in a new therapeutic type of treatment known as selective cannabinoid type 1 blockers. It is aimed at helping obese people lose weight and may help patients stop smoking. Acomplia also has been shown in a study to help obese diabetics control their blood sugar.

A standard review by the FDA takes at least 10 months, meaning the drug probably won't be approved by the end of this year.

Shares of the company fell 72 cents to $41.34 in the U.S.

Sanofi-Aventis, formed in August from the combination of France's two biggest pharmaceutical companies, is counting on Acomplia to reduce its reliance on its two top sellers, blood thinner Plavix and anti-stroke treatment Lovenox, which face patent challenges.

Acomplia has been studied in five clinical trials with about 13,000 patients.

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