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    HomeBusinessExperimental weight-loss drug from Viking Therapeutics could rival Ozempic, Mounjaro

    Experimental weight-loss drug from Viking Therapeutics could rival Ozempic, Mounjaro

    Viking Therapeutics posted results of an experimental drug that showed even better weight loss than the current market-leading drugs, a sign that the dominance of Ozempic and Mounjaro is far from assured.

    Viking said Tuesday that a mid-stage trial showed that obese or overweight patients on the highest dose of its drug lost an average of about 14.7 percent of their body weight after injecting it once weekly for 13 weeks — 13 percent more weight loss than a placebo group. That weight loss is even steeper over that time than Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide and Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide.

    The news sent Viking’s stock price soaring by more than 70 percent in early trading Tuesday, giving it a stock-market value approaching $7 billion. The company’s share price has more than tripled so far this year.

    Viking’s apparent success could take some of the shine off Eli Lilly if it attracts a global partner to develop the drug, David Risinger, an analyst for Leerink Partners, said in a research note Tuesday. Still, he noted, it remains to be seen whether Viking reproduces its results in late-stage trials it would need for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have dominated the market for new obesity and diabetes drugs, which work by stimulating naturally occurring hormones that regulate blood sugar and suppress appetite. The runaway success of Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound, have supercharged the revenue of both companies — and forced them to take extraordinary measures as they try to keep up with patient demand.

    Viking, though much smaller and less well known, has been wowing investors for the past year with its drug VK2735, which acts on two receptors like Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide. Viking reported that patients in its trial had adverse events such as nausea and vomiting but said the cases were mild or moderate. One patient had a severe case of dehydration, the company said.

    Brian Lian, Viking’s CEO, said in a statement that patients taking the drug were continuing to lose weight at 13 weeks, “suggesting further weight loss might be achieved from extended dosing periods.”

    Viking is also working on a pill form of its injectable drug, as are Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk.

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