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Vivani Medical Surges on its Ozempic-Like Weight-Loss Implant

Photo of scale with women's feet on it and series of drug capsules

The Ozempic craze continues to make headlines in the medical sector, and GLP-1 drug stocks continue to surge higher. Shares of Ozempic and Wegovy makers Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) are already up 20% year-to-date (YTD). Mounjaro and Zepbound maker Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) shares are up 34% YTD. Even companies that are still in clinical trials to compete with Ozempic are surging.

Viking Therapeutics Positive Phase 2 Results Surge Shares 80%

Shares of Viking Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VKTX) are up 357% YTD after surging 80% on its Phase 2 clinical trial data for VK2735, a GLIP-1 and GIP dual agonist similar to Mounjaro. The top dose of 15mg resulted in weight loss of 14.7% of body weight at week 13. Tolerability was favorable, with only 13% treatment discontinuation and 20% for the top dose. Placebo had a 14% discontinuation.

Viking Therapeutics Gets a $116 Price Target.

Oppenheimer reiterated their Outperform rating and raised its price target to $116 on February 28, 2024.

Analyst Jay Olson commented," VKTX is planning to meet the FDA mid-year and is currently planning another Ph2b study as the next step. Given the promising results, we believe VKTX has multiple options to explore additional dosing regimens and further optimize the safety/efficacy profile and improve patient experience." VKTX shares surged as high as $99.41 after the upgrade.

Viking Issues a $550 Million Secondary Offering

Viking priced a $550 stock offering on February 29, 2024. Underwriters were granted a 30-day option to buy an additional 970,650 shares of VKTX common stock. The proceeds will be used to continue the development of its pipeline, including VK2809, VK2735 and VK0214. Check out the sector heatmap on MarketBeat.

All these medications above are GLP-1-based and injectable once a week.

Vivani Medical Jumps on the GLP-1 Bandwagon

A little stock surged over 700% on news of its Ozempic-like drug administered twice yearly via miniature implant. Vivani Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: VANI) is a "near-clinical" stage biotech that leverages its NanoPortal technology, a miniature implant, to deliver medication steadily over extended periods. The company was previously Second Sight Medical Products, maker of the Argus II retinal implant system, which merged with Nano Precision Medical and was rebranded as Vivani Medical Products. The company put out a press release on February 28, 2024, promoting its GLP-1 treatment NPM-115, which produced a 20% reduction in body weight comparable to Ozempic/Wegovy. The headlines alone surged shares. The well-timed press release caused shares to surge from $1.01 the previous day to a gap up to $3.51, rising to $7.80 intraday.

Is the Company a Contender or Pretender?

Vivani reported positive preclinical weight loss data for its NPM-115 implant in obese rats. They were not just any rats; they were healthy Sprague-Dawley Rats. Crude as this may sound, animal testing on rodents is a standard practice in preclinical drug development. The FDA requires comprehensive safety and efficacy testing of new drugs before any human trials are approved. Apparently, there have been many studies of GLP-1 effects on mice. However, companies like Viking Therapeutics are reporting their findings from human trials, not rats. However, they are in Phase 2 clinical trials while Vivani is still preclinical.

Is Vivani Being Opportunistic or Doing a Money Grab?

Taking a page out of Viking Therapeutics, Vivani capitalized on the share price spike. On March 1, 2024, Vivani announced a $15 million registered direct offering. It had entered into a securities purchase agreement with an institutional investor to buy 3,947,358 shares of common stock and warrants to buy up to an aggregate of 3,947,368 million shares of common stock at $3.80 and exercisable at $3.80 in a direct offering. The offering will close on March 5, 2024. Shares have since cratered to $3.07.

Vivani Medical CEO Adam Mendelsohn commented, "In response to tremendous medical need and unprecedented market demand, we are prioritizing the development of our GLP-1 implants for the treatment of obesity and chronic weight management."

He added, "Since a high-dose GLP-1 implant for obesity would likely also be able to address our previous type 2 diabetes focus, the recently generated compelling weight loss data from NPM-115 naturally supports a shift in focus towards an indication with even broader potential. We believe the primary expected advantages of our proprietary NanoPortalâ„¢ implant technology, improving medication adherence and medication tolerability, have the potential to transform and advance the adoption of GLP-1 therapy in the future."

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