Viking Therapeutics Jumps as New Liver Drug Gets Positive Results

(Bloomberg) -- Viking Therapeutics Inc. shares jumped 11 percent in early trading, on track to open at the highest in four months, after new results for the company’s experimental therapy for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Viking Therapeutics Jumps as New Liver Drug Gets Positive Results

Seven of nine patients getting Viking’s VK2809 at a dose of 5 milligrams once a day saw their liver fat cut by 50 percent or more. The biggest reduction in liver fat at the 5 milligram dose was 78 percent, according to data presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver congress in Vienna. The company is also testing a 10 milligram dose. No serious side effects have been seen from the treatment to date.

“There were no red flags” around liver safety and “cross-trial comparisons suggest that VK2809 has the better profile” compared to Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s competing resmetirom, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Shah wrote in a note.

Viking has been a target of short sellers with bearish bets rising to 54 percent of the available float ahead of this week’s meeting, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners. The stock had risen 32 percent this year through Wednesday’s close.

Viking plans to start testing VK2809 later this year in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a more severe form of fatty liver disease that can lead to more complications.

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