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Obesity drug lorcaserin gets thumbs-down from FDA (Morning Read)

The Food and Drug Administration made it official Saturday, turning a thumbs-down to Lorqess (lorcaserin), the new diet drug by Arena Pharmaceuticals, because of concerns that it may cause tumors in rats and is marginally effective, according to the Pharmalot blog.

Highlights of the important and interesting in the world of healthcare:

No-go for Arena’s lorcaserin. The Food and Drug Administration made it official Saturday, turning a thumbs-down to Lorqess (lorcaserin), the new diet drug by Arena Pharmaceuticals, because of concerns that it may cause tumors in rats and is marginally effective, according to the Pharmalot blog.

PatientsLikeMe and medical data privacy. The recent “data scraping” incident involving patient advocacy site PatientsLikeMe and Nielsen Co. has ignited a discussion about the importance of transparency and the value of patient data — such as what is contained on PatientsLikeMe — to researchers who use it to develop new products, medicines and support tools for patients, according to American Medical News.

VCs scout for younger companies. As venture capital firms invest in younger and younger companies, they more frequently invest alongside networks of angel investors, according to a new study by Dow Jones VentureSource and reported by the Dallas Morning News.

Biotech goes another round with potential brain cancer treatment. Antigenics could have thrown in the towel on its immune boosting therapy for cancer. But with the help of one of its main backers, the Lexington, Massachusetts, biotechnology company is gearing up to run a significant trial to see if its lead therapy has a shot at treating brain cancer, according to Xconomy Boston.

ACOs here to stay. Magic bullets come and go in the world of health policy, but the accountable care organization (ACO) is likely to be a durable reform, according to psychiatrist Dr. Jim Sabin writing in MedPageToday’s KevinMD.com blog.

Health reform depends on state health insurance exchanges. The success of President Obama’s health care overhaul, with its promise of affordable coverage for all, depends on the creation of state health insurance exchanges like those operating in Massachusetts and Utah, according to the New York Times.

Unusual investment deal. In exchange for a $25 million investment, billionaire Paul Allen and his Vulcan Capital, and Washington state’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund will share in future profits from partnerships signed by Seattle drug discovery company Omeros, as well as collect royalties on product sales if the technology paves the way for new drugs against targets on cells known as G-protein coupled receptors, reports Xconomy Seattle.