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Viking Therapeutics saw a significant increase in its shares after announcing positive results from a small study on its experimental weight loss pill. The company plans to move forward with further development of the pill later this year. Analysts are optimistic about Viking’s potential in the weight loss drug market, which is expected to grow into a $100 billion industry by the end of the decade. Viking is seen as a strong player in the market and a potential takeover target for larger companies.

The phase one trial for Viking’s weight loss pill involved over 40 patients with obesity who took varying doses of the drug or a placebo over a period of around a month. Patients who received the pill once a day lost up to 5.3% of their weight on average, which was 3.3% more than those who took a placebo. Over half of the patients who received the pill lost at least 5% of their body weight. Patients who took higher doses of the drug appeared to maintain or even add to their weight loss after their last dose, showing promising results.

Viking CEO Brian Lian mentioned during a conference call that although the durability of the weight loss results is unclear, the sustained weight loss observed in the trial could be encouraging for patients who may miss doses. Viking believes that treating patients beyond the initial 28 days of the trial may lead to further reductions in body weight. The company also stated that the pill was safe and tolerable to take, with majority of side effects being mild in severity, especially in terms of gastrointestinal events.

The weight loss pill being developed by Viking is compared to Eli Lilly’s Zepbound due to both drugs imitating the gut hormones GLP-1 and GIP. GLP-1 helps reduce food intake and appetite, while GIP may improve the body’s breakdown of sugar and fat. Novo Nordisk’s weight loss injection Wegovy targets only GLP-1. Viking’s pill showed positive results in terms of weight loss and impact on patients, with minimal side effects compared to the placebo group. The company plans to continue with the development and testing of the pill in order to further establish its efficacy and safety in the weight loss market.

Overall, Viking Therapeutics’ weight loss pill has shown promising results in a phase one trial, with patients experiencing significant weight loss compared to those who took a placebo. Analysts view Viking as a potential competitor in the growing weight loss drug market, with prospects to become a key player in the industry. The company’s continued development of the pill and plans for a phase two trial later this year indicate a positive outlook for the drug’s potential. With the weight loss market expected to expand rapidly in the coming years, Viking’s innovative approach to weight loss treatment could make it a valuable asset or acquisition target for larger pharmaceutical companies.

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