Viking Therapeutics' weight loss drug showed faster results in clinical trials than Ozempic or Wegovy. Here's how it works.

Viking Therapeutics' weight loss drug showed faster results in clinical trials than Ozempic or Wegovy. Here's how it works.
  • Biotech company Viking Therapeutics saw stock prices double after a report on weight loss drug VK2735.

  • The new drug could lead to even more weight loss at a faster pace than Ozempic or Mounjaro.

  • VK2735 is similar to other GLP-1 drugs in side effects and how it works, but more research is needed.

A new experimental weight-loss drug stands a chance of competing with the likes of Ozempic and Mounjaro — and Viking Therapeutics stock price more than double after announcing promising early research findings.

Viking Therapeutics, a small California-based biotech company, shared the topline results from a mid-stage trial of its drug VK2735 on February 27.

The substantial weight loss from patients on the new medication could put VK2735 alongside groundbreaking products from pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, the Washington Post reported.

VK2735 is a once-weekly injectable medication similar to medications that have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years.

However, the early results of clinical trials suggest it could be on par to offer even more weight loss in less time than its competitors.

How Viking Therapeutics' weight-loss drug works

VK2735 mimics two hormones that affect weight control.

Like the "game changer" drug semaglutide (marketed as Ozempic and Wegovy by Novo Nordisk), VK2735 acts on a hormone called GLP-1, which helps regulate blood sugar and curb appetite.

It also influences GIP, another insulin-related hormone, making it similar to tirzepatide (sold by Eli Lilly under the brand names Mounjaro and Zepbound).

The dual action on GLP-1 and GIP could have a synergistic effect, making these drugs more effective for weight loss, doctors previously told Business Insider.

Viking Therapeutics' results vs. semaglutide and tirzepatide

VK2735 has yet to be compared head-to-head with other GLP-1 drugs in research, but here's what we know:

  • Patients taking the highest dose of VK2735 lost an average of 14.7% of their body weight (about 32 pounds) by 13 weeks. Their progress showed no signs of stopping, indicating even more pounds could be shed over time, according to the report.

  • Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) patients lost a comparable amount of weight, but over a span of 68 weeks in clinical trials.

  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound) patients have been shown to lose an average of 20% of body weight after 16 months.

The recent findings also suggest VK2735 may have a similar safety profile as other GLP-1s, with mostly mild to moderate side effects such as nausea and vomiting, although one patient reported severe dehydration related to the medication.

The findings will need to be replicated in late-stage trials for Viking to earn FDA approval for VK2735.

Read the original article on Business Insider