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Verona Pharma Announces Publication of Key Phase 2b COPD Data in Respiratory Research

Paper demonstrates ensifentrine’s potential in improving lung function and quality of life symptoms

LONDON, Feb. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Verona Pharma plc (AIM: VRP) (Nasdaq: VRNA) (“Verona Pharma”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on respiratory diseases, announces publication of Phase 2b clinical trial results for ensifentrine as a maintenance treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) in the leading peer reviewed journal, Respiratory Research. The study met its primary endpoint demonstrating that ensifentrine produced clinically and statistically significant improvements in lung function at all doses. Also, clinically relevant secondary endpoints were met including significant progressive improvements in COPD symptoms.

The paper, entitled “A dose-ranging study of the inhaled dual phosphodiesterase 3 and 4 inhibitor ensifentrine in COPD,” was published on-line here. Results from the 4-week 400-patient study were first reported in March 2018 and further positive analysis was presented in May 2019 at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Lead development candidate ensifentrine is a first-in-class, inhaled, dual inhibitor of the enzymes phosphodiesterase 3 and 4 that has been shown to act both as an anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator agent in a single compound. In January 2020, Verona Pharma reported positive top-line results from a second 4-week 400-patient Phase 2b study with nebulized ensifentrine added on to inhaled tiotropium (Spiriva® Respimat®) therapy in symptomatic COPD patients.

Dave Singh, M.D., Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Respiratory Medicine, Medicines Evaluation Unit, University of Manchester, and Lead Investigator in the study commented: “These encouraging data published in Respiratory Research, combined with ensifentrine’s unique mode of action, support its potential as a novel therapy to meet the high unmet medical need in COPD. The improvements in patients’ symptoms, including breathlessness, are particularly noteworthy.”

David Zaccardelli, Pharm. D., President and CEO of Verona Pharma, said: “The compelling data from our two successful Phase 2b studies in COPD, one in patients with no background therapy and the second in symptomatic patients already on maintenance therapy, are further evidence of ensifentrine’s promising therapeutic potential. We look forward to discussing these results, along with positive data from previous clinical studies, in an End-of-Phase 2 meeting with the FDA, anticipated for 2Q 2020. We expect this meeting to provide key guidance with respect to the design of our Phase 3 program.”

About COPD
COPD is a progressive and life-threatening respiratory disease without a cure. The World Health Organization estimates that it will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. The condition damages the airways and the lungs, leading to debilitating breathlessness that has a devastating impact on performing basic daily activities such as getting out of bed, showering, eating and walking. In the United States alone, the total annual medical costs related to COPD are projected to rise to $49 billion in 2020. About 1.2 million US COPD patients on dual/triple inhaled therapy, long-acting beta-agonist (LABA)/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) +/- inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) remain uncontrolled, experiencing symptoms that impair quality of life. These patients urgently need better treatments.

About Ensifentrine
Nebulized ensifentrine (RPL554) has shown significant and clinically meaningful improvements in both lung function and COPD symptoms, including breathlessness, in Verona Pharma’s prior Phase 2 clinical studies in patients with moderate to severe COPD. In addition, nebulized ensifentrine showed further improved lung function and reduced lung volumes in patients taking standard short- and long-acting bronchodilator therapy, including maximum bronchodilator treatment with dual/triple therapy. Ensifentrine has been well tolerated in clinical trials involving more than 1300 people to date.

About Verona Pharma
Verona Pharma is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for the treatment of respiratory diseases with significant unmet medical needs. If successfully developed and approved, Verona Pharma’s product candidate, ensifentrine, has the potential to be the first therapy for the treatment of respiratory diseases that combines bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activities in one compound. Verona Pharma is currently in Phase 2 development with three formulations of ensifentrine for the treatment of COPD: nebulized, dry powder inhaler, and pressurized metered-dose inhaler. Ensifentrine also has potential applications in cystic fibrosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases. For more information, please visit www.veronapharma.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the development of ensifentrine, the progress and timing of clinical trials, data and meetings with the FDA, the potential for ensifentrine to be a first-in-class phosphodiesterase 3 and 4 inhibitor, and to be the first therapy for the treatment of respiratory diseases to combine bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activities in one compound, the potential for ensifentrine to have a significant impact on the treatment of COPD, estimates of medical costs for COPD and the number of symptomatic COPD patients, and the potential application of ensifentrine for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from our expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: our limited operating history; our need for additional funding to complete development and commercialization of ensifentrine, which may not be available and which may force us to delay, reduce or eliminate our development or commercialization efforts; the reliance of our business on the success of ensifentrine, our only product candidate under development; economic, political, regulatory and other risks involved with international operations; the lengthy and expensive process of clinical drug development, which has an uncertain outcome; serious adverse, undesirable or unacceptable side effects associated with ensifentrine, which could adversely affect our ability to develop or commercialize ensifentrine; potential delays in enrolling patients, which could adversely affect our research and development efforts and the completion of our clinical trials; we may not be successful in developing ensifentrine for multiple indications; our ability to obtain approval for and commercialize ensifentrine in multiple major pharmaceutical markets; misconduct or other improper activities by our employees, consultants, principal investigators, and third-party service providers; our future growth and ability to compete depends on retaining our key personnel and recruiting additional qualified personnel; material differences between our “top-line” data and final data; our reliance on third parties, including clinical research organizations, clinical investigators, manufacturers and suppliers, and the risks related to these parties’ ability to successfully develop and commercialize ensifentrine; and lawsuits related to patents covering ensifentrine and the potential for our patents to be found invalid or unenforceable. These and other important factors under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 19, 2019, and our other reports filed with the SEC, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management's estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

For further information, please contact:

Verona Pharma plcTel: +44 (0)20 3283 4200
David Zaccardelli, Chief Executive Officer[email protected]
David Moskowitz, VP Capital Markets Strategy & Investor Relations (Investor enquiries)
Victoria Stewart, Director of Communications (Media Enquiries)
 
  
N+1 Singer
(Nominated Adviser and UK Broker)
Tel: +44 (0)20 3283 4200
Aubrey Powell / George Tzimas / Iqra Amin (Corporate Finance) 
Tom Salvesen (Corporate Broking) 
  
Optimum Strategic Communications
(European Media and Investor Enquiries)
Tel: +44 (0)20 950 9144
[email protected]
Mary Clark / Eva Haas / Hollie Vile 
  
Argot Partners
(US Investor Enquiries)
Tel: +1 212-600-1902
[email protected]
Stephanie Marks / Kimberly Minarovich / Michael Barron 

 

Quick facts: Verona Pharma

Price: 46.5

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £49.51 m
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