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NASDAQ listing for Verona Pharma?

Shares rose more than 20% after an oversubscribed placing raised £44.7mln to fund its lung disease drug.

Lung graphic
COPD is still among the four leading causes of death globally.

A NASDAQ listing was on the cards for Verona Pharma Plc (LON:VRP) as shares rose more than 20% after an oversubscribed placing raised £44.7mln to fund the development of its lung disease treatment.

The proceeds will fund the group’s RPL554 drug through a Phase 2b clinical trial in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients (COPD) and additional phase 2 studies in both COPD and cystic fibrosis.

The funding enables the group to materially advance the development of the drug and build on the significant progress made with the revised formulation, it said.

Verona also announced that it was pursuing “commercially reasonable efforts” to obtain a listing on NASDAQ and raise a further tranche of funding in the future.

Non-executive chairman David Ebsworth said that a NASDAQ listing was a “natural evolution” in the group’s corporate strategy to focus on the US market.

“It will also allow the company easier access to a larger pool of investors in the US who have a deep understanding of the healthcare market in which Verona Pharma operates,” said Ebsworth.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a debilitating lung disease that affects around 65mln people worldwide and is still among the four leading causes of death globally.

“We have made significant clinical progress with our first-in-class drug RPL554. This drug has shown the potential to become an important novel and complementary treatment option for patients with COPD,” said chief executive Jan-Anders Karlsson.

For the first time, the group will also explore the use of the RPL554 drug as a treatment for patients with cystic fibrosis, where it said there remained a significant unmet need.

Cornerstone investors in the placing included a number of specialist US, UK and European healthcare funds, Vivo Capital, OrbiMed and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners.

Verona’s lead drug RPL554 is a muscle relaxant which eases breathing and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has the potential to become a novel treatment for patients with obstructive lung diseases.

Shares rose almost 24% to 3.5p.



Quick facts: Verona Pharma

Price: 46.5 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £49.51 m

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