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Viking Therapeutics Announces Initiation of Phase 2 VENTURE Trial of Dual GLP-1/GIP Receptor Agonist VK2735 in Patients with Obesity

2023-09-06 07:03 ET - News Release

13-Week Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of VK2735 Dosed Weekly

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Viking Therapeutics, Inc. (Viking) (NASDAQ: VKTX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders, today announced the initiation of a Phase 2 clinical trial of VK2735, the company's wholly-owned dual agonist of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors.  VK2735 is in development for the potential treatment of various metabolic disorders such as obesity.

Viking Therapeutics (PRNewsfoto/Viking Therapeutics, Inc.)

The Phase 2 VENTURE trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that will evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and weight loss efficacy of four different doses of VK2735, administered subcutaneously, once weekly.  The 13-week trial will enroll approximately 125 adults who are obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2), or adults who are overweight (BMI ≥27 kg/m2) with at least one weight-related co-morbid condition.  The primary endpoint of the study is the percent change in body weight from baseline to Week 13, with secondary and exploratory endpoints evaluating a range of additional safety and efficacy measures.

"We are excited to announce the initiation of the VENTURE study, which will build upon the promising VK2735 Phase 1 data we reported earlier this year," said Brian Lian, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Viking. "Obesity is a major healthcare challenge, and recent data confirm that effective weight loss agents can reduce a patient's cardiovascular risk profile, providing important health benefits.  We look forward to exploring VK2735's safety and weight loss efficacy over this study's 13-week dosing window."

Viking previously reported positive results from a Phase 1 single ascending dose (SAD) and multiple ascending dose (MAD) clinical trial of VK2735 in healthy volunteers with a BMI ≥30.  In the SAD portion of the study, VK2735 demonstrated promising safety and tolerability, as well as a predictable pharmacokinetic profile.  In the 28-day MAD portion of the study, VK2735 was well-tolerated and showed positive signs of clinical activity.  All MAD cohorts receiving VK2735 experienced reductions in mean body weight from baseline, ranging up to 7.8%.  Cohorts receiving VK2735 also demonstrated reductions in mean body weight relative to placebo, ranging up to 6.0%.  Statistically significant differences compared to placebo were maintained or improved at the Day 43 follow-up time point, 21 days after the last dose of VK2735 was administered.   

The majority of observed adverse events (98%) in the Phase 1 trial were reported as mild or moderate.  The majority of GI-specific adverse events (99%) were also reported as mild or moderate.  Notably, despite robust activation of the incretin receptor pathways, no hypoglycemia was reported.  The company believes that the tolerability data from the Phase 1 study indicate that higher doses may be achieved with longer titration windows. 

Viking is also conducting a Phase 1 trial of a novel oral formulation of VK2735, which it believes may significantly expand the market opportunity for the compound by offering patients the option between subcutaneous and oral dosages forms.  The company expects to report initial data from the oral formulation Phase 1 study in the fourth quarter of 2023.

About GLP-1 and Dual GLP-1/GIP Agonists

Activation of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor has been shown to decrease glucose, reduce appetite, lower body weight, and improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, or both. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is currently marketed in various dosage strengths and forms as Ozempic®, Rybelsus®, and Wegovy®. More recently, research efforts have explored the potential co-activation of the glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) receptor as a means of enhancing the therapeutic benefits of GLP-1 receptor activation. Tirzepatide is a dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist that is currently in clinical development for obesity.

About Viking Therapeutics, Inc. 

Viking Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel first-in-class or best-in-class therapies for the treatment of metabolic and endocrine disorders, with three compounds currently in clinical trials. Viking's research and development activities leverage its expertise in metabolism to develop innovative therapeutics designed to improve patients' lives. The company's clinical programs include VK2809, a novel, orally available, small molecule selective thyroid hormone receptor beta agonist for the treatment of lipid and metabolic disorders, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2b study for the treatment of biopsy-confirmed non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis. In a Phase 2a trial for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and elevated LDL-C, patients who received VK2809 demonstrated statistically significant reductions in LDL-C and liver fat content compared with patients who received placebo. The company is also developing VK2735, a novel dual agonist of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors for the potential treatment of various metabolic disorders. Data from a Phase 1 trial evaluating VK2735 (dosed subcutaneously) for metabolic disorders demonstrated an encouraging safety and tolerability profile as well as positive signs of clinical benefit. The company also recently initiated a Phase 1 study to evaluate an oral formulation of VK2735. In the rare disease space, the company is developing VK0214, a novel, orally available, small molecule selective thyroid hormone receptor beta agonist for the potential treatment of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). VK0214 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1b clinical trial in patients with the adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) form of X-ALD. The company holds exclusive worldwide rights to a portfolio of five therapeutic programs, including VK2809 and VK0214, which are based on small molecules licensed from Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated.
For more information about Viking Therapeutics, please visit www.vikingtherapeutics.com. Follow Viking on Twitter @Viking_VKTX.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Viking Therapeutics, Inc., under the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about Viking's expectations regarding its clinical and preclinical development programs and cash resources.  Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: risks associated with the success, cost and timing of Viking's product candidate development activities and clinical trials, including those for VK2735, VK0214, VK2809, and the company's other incretin receptor agonists; risks that prior clinical and preclinical results may not be replicated; risks regarding regulatory requirements; and other risks that are described in Viking's most recent periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Viking's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, including the risk factors set forth in those filings.  These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof.  Viking disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required by law.

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