HomeMarket NewsThe Weight Loss Battle: Examining Viking Therapeutics' Stock Potential

The Weight Loss Battle: Examining Viking Therapeutics’ Stock Potential

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The pharmaceutical industry is abuzz with innovation in the weight loss treatment sector, primarily led by giants like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. Their game-changing GLP-1 agonists have captured the marketโ€™s attention. Brands such as Ozempic, Rybelsus, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound have become household names for managing diabetes and facilitating weight loss.

Yet, in a David-and-Goliath twist, Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX) recently shook the industry with stellar phase 2 trial results for their obesity drug VK2735. The stock soared over 300% year-to-date, putting the spotlight on this underdog in the weight loss arena.

As the dust settles on Vikingโ€™s meteoric rise, investors contemplate if theyโ€™ve missed the boat on this rising star. But before jumping in, letโ€™s dissect Vikingโ€™s journey and the road that lies ahead.

Shaping Up Well, but Caution Ahead

Viking Therapeutics shines bright among the competition eyeing the weight loss domain. Their phase 2 trial showcased impressive results with VK2735, delivering a remarkable average 13.1% placebo-adjusted mean weight loss over 13 weeks. The drugโ€™s safety and tolerability also stood out, with fewer dropouts than the placebo group.

Building on this success, Viking unveiled promising phase 1 trial outcomes for an oral version of VK2735, setting the stage for a potentially groundbreaking product. However, amidst the euphoria, investors must tread carefully due to looming risk factors.

A doctor taking a patient's blood pressure

Image Source: Getty Images

The Long Road Ahead

While Viking Therapeutics basks in its phase 2 success, the reality check is that it remains a clinical-stage company awaiting regulatory nods for product commercialization. Operating on a pre-revenue model and hefty R&D investments, Vikingโ€™s liquidity poses a significant challenge, as illustrated by their consistent operating losses.

VKTX Net Income (Quarterly) Chart

VKTX Net Income (Quarterly) data by YCharts.

Monitoring Vikingโ€™s cash profile becomes imperative, given the uncertainties surrounding sustained financial health.

Navigating Investment Waters

Vikingโ€™s course appears set towards progress, yet the arduous terrain of clinical trials demands caution. The journey from trials to FDA approval is lengthy and fraught with hurdles, with no guarantees of success. Even with FDA backing, Viking faces formidable competition from titans like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly.

While Viking could challenge the weight loss status quo, the competitive landscape is formidable. Novo Nordiskโ€™s dominance in the GLP-1 market, coupled with Eli Lillyโ€™s strategic moves, pose formidable barriers for Viking to overcome.

Despite Vikingโ€™s soaring stock, the hype might overshadow its true value, rendering it a speculative bet. An air of uncertainty looms over the companyโ€™s prospects, urging prudent investors to stick with established industry players like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly.

Timing the Viking Voyage

Is it too late to board the Viking Therapeutics ship? Contrarily, it might be too early. The fervor surrounding Viking has inflated its valuation, disconnecting it from underlying fundamentals. This cautionary tale advises on steering clear of Viking stock for now, opting for steadier ground with established industry giants.

Considering an Investment in Viking Therapeutics?

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*Stock Advisor returns as of April 4, 2024

Disclosure: Amazon subsidiaryโ€™s former CEO, John Mackey, sits on the Motley Fool board. The author, Adam Spatacco, holds positions in Amazon, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon and Novo Nordisk, and recommends Eli Lilly. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The expressions herein reflect the authorโ€™s viewpoints and do not necessarily align with Nasdaq, Inc.โ€™s stance.

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