September 18, 2018 / 11:50 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Viking shares soar as liver disease drug succeeds in mid-stage study

(Adds details on trial, comment from CEO)

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Viking Therapeutics Inc’s shares more than doubled on Tuesday after its experimental liver disease treatment met the goals of a mid-stage trial by lowering cholesterol and liver fat levels in patients.

The study tested Viking’s VK2809 against a placebo in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and high levels of LDL-C, or “bad cholesterol”.

Patients given the drug experienced a median reduction of between 57 percent and 60 percent in liver fat, while LDL-C levels dropped by a fifth or more.

There are currently no approved treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH - a type of NAFLD that is one of the fastest growing diseases in the developed world.

Successful drugmakers could enter a market worth potentially $30 billion a year.

In May, shares of Viking’s larger rival Madrigal Pharmaceuticals also more than doubled after the company released mid-stage trial data showing its lead drug reduced liver fat in NASH patients.

Viking’s shares were trading at $25 in premarket trading on Tuesday after ending at $8.85 on Monday. (Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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