Viking Therapeutics Outperforms Expectations: Analyst Increases Price Target Following Successful VK2809 Trial

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated's LGND partner Viking Therapeutics Inc VKTX announced positive topline results from its Phase 2b trial of VK2809 in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

The study achieved its primary endpoint, with patients receiving VK2809 experiencing statistically significant reductions in liver fat content from baseline to Week 12 compared to placebo.

The median relative change from baseline in liver fat ranged from 38% to 55% for patients receiving VK2809. 

Additionally, VK2809-treated patients demonstrated statistically significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and atherogenic lipoproteins compared with placebo.

William Blair says that after Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc MDGL announced positive topline results from the pivotal Phase 3 MAESTRO-NASH biopsy trial of resmetirom, investor enthusiasm in the NASH space has been invigorated.

VK2809 offers differentiation by specifically targeting the liver, which could translate to a clinical advantage for VK2809 compared to resmetirom, particularly in providing a more tolerable regimen with an improved safety profile.

BTIG has raised the price target from $31 to $36, with a Buy rating, based on this impressive data exceeding expectations and de-risking further clinical development. 

The analyst has increased modeled PoS for VK-2809 from 65% to 75%. 

The company reported one treatment-related serious adverse event (SAE) in a patient with a history of psychiatric disorders, where a worsening of their symptoms.

The analyst says the SAE is not of concern, as the patient had a history of mental illness and drug abuse, and there is no correlation to VK2809.

Price Action: VKTX shares are up 13.40% at $24.94 on the last check Tuesday.

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