Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. said Monday information from a late-stage study showed that patients taking its potential diet drug Contrave maintained normal blood pressure patterns around the clock during a year of treatment.

The La Jolla, Calif., company's shares jumped 48 cents, or 16.7 percent, to $3.36 in morning trading.

A normal variation in blood pressure may be relevant because a loss of the nighttime lowering in blood pressure could indicate a poor cardiovascular outcome, said Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the Vascular Disease Prevention Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a statement from Orexigen.

Data from the study were presented at the 60th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans.

In February, the Food and Drug Administration unexpectedly rejected Contrave. The FDA said it was concerned about heart side effects from the drug and will require a new study

The ruling marked the third rejection of a weight loss drug in recent months, raising questions about whether any new drugs in the class can be made safe enough to win approval. Analysts expect any obesity drug reaching the market to have the potential to become a billion-dollar seller.

Orexigen does not currently have any products on the market.