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First, it was Viking Therapeutics (VKTX) on the attack with trial results that showed its GLP-1 diabetes/weight loss drug out performing current leader of the pack drugs from Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Eli Lilly (LLY). On the news Viking soared.

Then Novo Nordisk struct back with data of its own showing progress on an oral formulation of its drug. (All existing GLP-1 drugs are delivered by injection.) That cratered Viking Shares.

Now, March 26, Viking has released new Phase 1 trial data from a multiple ascending dose study of an oral version of VK2735, a dual agonist of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors. After 28 days of daily dosing, 25% of the eight patients who received 20 mg doses of VK2735 saw their body weight fall by 5% or more, Viking reported in a March 26 release. This rose to 57% in the seven patients who received 40 mg doses. All treatment-emergent adverse events were mild or moderate in severity, the company noted, as were all gastrointestinal events. Viking Therapeutic shares closed up 16.82% today.

Viking has added an additional cohort to the study to assess an even higher dose and is also planning a Phase 2 study beginning in the second half of the year. “Based on the encouraging trajectory of weight loss observed in this study, and the lack of a plateau at 28 days for higher dose cohorts, we believe that further benefits might be anticipated from longer dosing periods and with potentially higher doses,” Viking CEO Brian Lian told analysts in a call today.

The results for the oral formulation of VK2735 comes a month after Viking reported Phase 2 data for an injectable version of the drug that demonstrated weight loss of up to 14.7% after 13 weeks of treatment.

If you’re trying to benchmark these test results here’s how William Blair analysts have suggested evaluating the numbers. The efficacy bar for oral VK2735 should sit between 4% and 5%, meaning today’s results appear to be on track, they said. However, the analysts said, so far the majority of VK2735’s valuation resides in the injectable formulation, which had demonstrated competitiveness against Eli Lilly’s Zepbound.

I added Viking Therapeutics to my Jubak Picks Portfolio on February 28, 2024 at $94.50 a share. Today’s move in the stock means that position is “only” 26.78% underwater.