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Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
March 13, 2019 4:30 p.m. ET
Good afternoon, and welcome to the Viking Therapeutics fourth-quarter 2018 and year-end earnings conference call . [Operator instructions] Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Stephanie Diaz, investor relations. Please go ahead.
Stephanie Diaz — Investor Relations
Hello, and thank you all for participating in today’s call. Joining me today is Brian Lian, Viking’s president and CEO; and Michael Morneau, vice president of finance and administration. Before we begin, I’d like to caution that comments made during this conference call today, March 13, 2019, will contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 concerning the current beliefs of the company, which involve a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ from these statements, and the company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any statement made today.
I encourage you to review all the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning these and other matters. I’ll now turn the call over to Brian Lian for his initial comments. Brian?
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Brian Lian — President and Chief Executive Officer
Thanks, Stephanie. And thanks to everyone listening on the webcast or by phone. Today, I’ll provide an update of our key 2018 accomplishments as well as an update on recent progress and developments related to our pipeline programs and operations. 2018 was a pivotal year for Viking as two of our clinical programs yielded best-in-class data, and we raised sufficient capital to advance our pipeline to important value inflection points.
Last September, we announced the results of a Phase II study of our novel thyroid receptor beta agonist, VK2809, in patients with hypercholesterolemia and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This study achieved both its primary and secondary endpoints, demonstrating statistically significant reductions in plasma lipids as well as liver fat after 12 weeks of dosing. These data provide compelling evidence of VK2809 safety and efficacy and support our decision to proceed with further development of this program in the setting of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. In 2018, we also reported additional results from a Phase II trial of our novel selective androgen receptor modulator, VK5211, in patients recovering from hip fracture.
This trial successfully achieved its primary and secondary endpoints, demonstrating VK5211’s potent effect on muscle growth in this frail population. Underscoring the importance of the data from both our VK2809 and VK5211 clinical programs, each of these two studies was featured in podium presentations at international conferences in their respective areas. In addition, earlier-stage results demonstrating VK2809’s promise in reducing liver fat and inflammatory markers were featured in a podium presentation at a third major conference in September. We are proud to have received the recognition of these events as they validate our own enthusiasm for our programs and support our view that the depth, quality and productivity of our pipeline differentiates Viking from many of our competitors in the development stage biopharmaceutical space.
Based on the success of our pipeline programs, we were able to significantly strengthen our balance sheet in 2018 through offerings of common stock that resulted in total gross proceeds in excess of $315 million. I’ll provide additional comments on our 2018 accomplishments. But first, we’d like to review our fourth-quarter and full-year financials. I’ll now turn the call over to Mike Morneau, Viking’s vice president of finance and administration, to discuss our financial results.
Mike Morneau — Vice President of Finance and Administration
Thanks, Brian. In conjunction with my comments, I’d like to recommend that participants refer to Viking’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which we expect to file later today for additional details. I’ll now go over the financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2018. Our research and development expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2018, were $5.1 million, compared to $3 million for the same period in 2017.
The increase was primarily due to increased preclinical study efforts, manufacturing expenses related to our drug candidates, use of third-party consultants and stock-based compensation, partially offset by a decrease in clinical study expenses. Our fourth-quarter general and administrative expenses were $1.9 million, compared to $1.4 million for the same period in 2017. The increase was primarily due to increased expenses related to stock-based compensation, salaries and benefits and legal and patent expenses. For the three months ended December 31, 2018, Viking reported a net loss of $5.2 million or $0.07 per share, compared to a net loss of $4.1 million or $0.14 per share in the corresponding period in 2017.
The increase in net loss for the three months ended December 31, 2018, was primarily due to the increase in research and development expenses noted previously, partially offset by an increase in other income related to the increase in interest income. The decrease in net loss per share for the three months ended December 31, 2018, is primarily driven by the additional shares outstanding at December 31, 2018 versus those outstanding at December 31, 2017, given the additional shares issued by the company during 2018, primarily through public-equity offerings. Our research and development expenses for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018, were $19 million, compared to $13.7 million for the same period in 2017. The increase was primarily due to increased expenses related to the preclinical study efforts, use of third-party consultants, stock-based compensation and manufacturing related to our drug candidates, partially offset by a decrease in clinical study expenses.
Our general and administrative expenses for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018, were $7.1 million, compared to $5.3 million for the same period in 2017. The increase was primarily due to increased expenses related to stock-based compensation, salaries and benefits, professional services, use of third-party consultants, insurance, legal and patent expenses and franchise taxes. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2018, Viking reported a net loss of $22.1 million or $0.38 per share compared to a net loss of $20.6 million or $0.79 per share in the corresponding period in 2017. The increase in net loss for the 12 months ended December 31, 2018, was primarily due to the increase in research an