VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) today sent a letter to its shareholders indicating First Manhattan Co’s campaign to replace Vivus’ existing board a serious threat.

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The pharmaceutical company commercializing and developing innovative, next-generation therapies to address unmet needs in obesity and sexual health in its today’s letter to the shareholders, emphasized that there is no shortcut to unlock the value represented by Qsymia.

Qsymia Seen Slow Pick Up

Once touted as a promising therapy to fight a U.S. obesity epidemic, doctors have been slow to pick it up given the troubled past of obesity drugs. Qsymia’s side effects include heart risks and the possibility of babies being born with oral clefts when taken by women during pregnancy.

In its recent letter to Vivus, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) shareholders, the investment management firm First Manhattan Co, justified why its nominees should be elected. The investment advisory firm castigated VIVUS’ board for having limited knowledge of finance. It also charged the company of ‘hemorrhaging cash’ and with a ‘poor commercial launch for the best obesity drug ever developed’.

First Manhattan Co’s letter further highlighted VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) has failed on Qsymia in Europe. The existing management’s tactic of pursuing a decentralized procedure for EU approval would be a commercial graveyard.

Andrew Pollack in his article in The New York Times doubts that the slow start of Qsymia raises questions about what role prescription drugs really can play in combating the nation’s epidemic of obesity.

Vivus Cautions Its Shareholders

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) today called First Manhattan’s plans to replace the board and management a “serious threat” to shareholder value, urging investors to vote against First Manhattan at its annual meeting on July 15.

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) in its today’s letter highlighted under current board’s direction, the management team developed and won FDA approval for Qsymia in 2012. Since then, the management team has worked tirelessly to increase awareness and access, the two main barriers to unlocking Qsymia’s value.

Today’s letter further notes VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS)  made significant progress in establishing obesity as a drug treatment category and broadening reimbursement coverage. Despite FMC’s disruptive efforts, the company has made meaningful progress that is positioning it to enhance stockholder value.

The letter further highlights in the last two weeks alone, Vivus announced that SPEDRA™ (avanafil) (the EU name for STENDRA™) has been approved in Europe, and the company announced that Qsymia is available in approximately 8,000 certified retail pharmacies ahead of schedule.