Although the biotech will receive$23 millionin cash and over$80 millionin cost relief associated with Belviq’s development per this modified agreement, this move essentially reverts Arena back into a clinical-stage company. Now what From a valuation standpoint, Arena’s near-term prospects are now going to be mostly dependent on the fate of its mid-stage drug candidates etrasimod for ulcerative colitis and ralinepag for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Both drugs are expected to produce top-line data this year, which should determine if they progress into a pivotal-stage trial perhaps in early 2018. While Arena is going after some big game from a commercial standpoint with its clinical pipeline –etrasimod, for example, is targeting a market forecast to grow to an impressive $7 billion by 2021 — there are ample reasons to remain cautious with this small-cap biotech this year. Even if both of these experimental drugs hit the mark in their ongoing mid-stage studies, pivotal-stage trials can easily take three to five years to complete. Unfortunately, Arena’s definitely going to need to raise capital well before then, based on its last-stated cash position of around $101 million, implying that more dilutive financing is nearly guaranteed in the years ahead. Even if Arena’s shares do “pop” on a positive mid-stage result this year, this stock may have trouble sustaining any upward momentum due to the strong possibility of a sizable secondary offering coming into play. George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy . Author George Budwell has been writing about healthcare and biotechnology companies at the Motley Fool since 2013.

http://www.fool.com/investing/2017/01/13/why-arena-pharmaceuticals-stock-sank-in-2016.aspx

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