The AIM-listed company’s initial focus is on the nebulised formulation of ensifentrine, where a Phase 2b dose-ranging clinical trial for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was said to be “progressing as planned”.
Chief executive Jan-Anders Karlsson said he anticipates this study being completed around the end of 2019.
Armed with the results of this data and prior studies in over 800 patients, Verona then will talk to the US drug regulator in the first half ahead of 2020, which if successful will allow the start of a Phase 3 clinical trial program that year.
Tuesday’s half-year results, which showed £46.5mln of net cash at 30 June down from £64.7mln as investment was increased in clinical trials, came a day after results were published from phase 2 trials of a dry powder inhaler (DPI) formulation of ensifentrine for COPD.
Karlsson said the company was “very excited” by the DPI formulation, saying the results support the view that the drug is an effective bronchodilator in COPD patients via either method of delivery.
“We plan to complete further development and commercialization of the DPI formulation with a partner and believe these clinical data strongly support this opportunity.”
Verona said it may seek strategic collaborations with larger biopharmaceutical companies to develop and commercialize the DPI and a third formulation of ensifentrine by pressurised metered-dose inhaler (pMDI).
“We believe that any such collaborations (the signing and terms of which remain uncertain) could provide significant funding to advance the development of ensifentrine, while allowing us to benefit from the development or commercialisation expertise of our collaborators.”