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Maxim Explains Viking Therapeutics' Sympathy Move With Madrigal

Maxim Explains Viking Therapeutics' Sympathy Move With Madrigal
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Viking Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: VKTX) shares more than doubled Thursday after a 145-percent jump in shares of Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: MDGL), which announced data from a Phase 2 study of its non-alcoholic steatohepatitis pipeline candidate.

NASH is a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.

The Analyst

Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy maintained his Buy rating on Viking and raised the price target from $8 to $14.

The Thesis

Madrigal's M1-3196, a thyroid hormone receptor beta agonist, belongs to the same class of drug as Viking's 2809, McCarthy said in a Thursday note.

The data for MI-3196 suggest this class of drugs could successfully treat NASH, the analyst said. 

Liver fat reduction is predictive of NASH and NAS improvements, and liver fat reduction achieved at 12 weeks was maintained at 36 weeks, McCarthy said, detailing takeaways from Madrigal's data. Additionally, NASH resolution did not worsen fibrosis, the analyst said.

Phase 2 data for VK2809 in treating NAFLD/hypercholesterolemia is due in the second half of the year, McCarthy said. 

Comparing MI-3196 and VK2809, the analyst said the latter is more potent and targeted than the former, and the latter's dosing of 10mg/day is significantly lower than the former's 80mg/day.

"Nonetheless, the bottom line, in our view, is [that] success for Madrigal is a positive for Viking and VK2809." 

The Price Action

Following Thursday's sharp advances, shares of Viking down 2.4 percent Friday. Madrigal was up 3.32 percent at the close. 

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Steatohepatitis micrograph by Nephron/Wikimedia. 

Latest Ratings for VKTX

Sep 2018Raymond JamesMaintainsOutperformOutperform
Sep 2018H.C. WainwrightMaintainsBuyBuy
Jul 2018SunTrust Robinson HumphreyInitiates Coverage OnBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for VKTX
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Jason McCarthy Maxim GroupAnalyst Color Biotech Price Target Reiteration Analyst Ratings General Best of Benzinga


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