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Verona Pharma

Verona Pharma to start clinical trials on COPD drug in UK within months

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Respiratory disease specialists Verona Pharma (LON:VRP) plans to start clinical trials of its drug RPL554 to treat COPD within the next couple of months, it said.

The company has contracted the Medicines Evaluation Unit in Manchester to carry out the phase II anti-inflammatory trial - the first study in the UK.

The enrollment of patients is to start in the second quarter and the preliminary results are expected early in Q4 this year, the company said.

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes a narrowing of the airways in the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

The trial, being led by Professor Dave Singh, will see healthy volunteers having their airways exposed to an inflammatory stimulus.

They will then be treated using six repeated daily doses of RPL554 with an inhaler, with the primary endpoint being the reduction of inflammation.

Verona's chief executive Michael Walker said: "The fundraising completed in January this year has enabled us to initiate this important trial to show that RPL554 is anti-inflammatory.

"We have already demonstrated that this drug is a bronchodilator, i.e. dilates the airways, enabling patients to breathe more easily. If we can demonstrate there is also a combined anti-inflammatory action, this would place RPL554 in a completely new class of therapy for COPD
and asthma sufferers."

He added: "Our objective continues to be to appoint a partner to develop RPL554 into a marketed medicine. The results from this trial will provide further useful and important data for this purpose".

This clinical trial follows earlier work to test the anti-inflammatory actions of RPL554, including preclinical studies and a pilot nasal study in humans performed as part of the initial Phase I/IIa clinical trial of the drug, the company added.

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