Healthcare Business

Why Viking Therapeutics Fatty Liver Study More Than Doubled Shares

Viking Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VKTX) shares more than doubled on Tuesday after the company announced results from its midstage non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) trial.

Specifically, Viking announced positive topline results from its 12-week Phase 2 study of VK2809, its novel liver-selective thyroid receptor beta agonist, in patients with NAFLD and elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The study successfully achieved its primary endpoint, with patients receiving VK2809 demonstrating statistically significant reductions in LDL-C compared with placebo.

Additionally, the trial’s secondary endpoint was achieved, with VK2809-treated patients experiencing statistically significant reductions in liver fat content compared with placebo.

As for the results, patients receiving VK2809 demonstrated statistically significant reductions in LDL-C of 20% or more, compared with placebo-treated patients. VK2809-treated patients also demonstrated statistically significant improvements in other lipids, including atherogenic proteins apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein. These patients experienced statistically significant reductions in liver fat content, as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging, proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF), relative to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment.

Brian Lian, Ph.D., CEO of Viking, commented:

VK2809’s effect on liver fat at 12 weeks appears to exceed all other oral agents currently in development for NASH, supporting our view that VK2809 has a best-in-class profile.  Based on published data from multiple studies, we anticipate that these liver fat reductions would result in longer-term histologic benefit.  In addition, the improvement in lipid parameters observed in this study suggests potential benefits in cardiovascular health, an important consideration in this population.  We look forward to pursuing further development of VK2809 in NASH.

Shares of Viking Therapeutics were last seen up about 115% at $22.33, with a consensus analyst price target of $14.33 and a 52-week range of $1.18 to $13.43.