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Verona, RPL554 Is The New Hope

Accendo Markets
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Verona Pharma is developing first-in-class drugs to treat respiratory disease, such as COPD and asthma. The Company currently has two drug programmes, one of which is in Phase II trials for two diseases with the other being in Phase I. The company is Cardiff, UK based.

Price 1.20GBp
Market cap £12.12m

Source: wall street journal

Restructuring of management

The company announced the appointment of Biresh Roy as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Board of Directors with immediate effect. Biresh Roy has a strong track record in executing and financing international M&A deals, growth and company turnarounds. He has particular experience with pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies. Following his appointment on to the board, Verona will seek to develop the full potential of RPL554 in respiratory disease and to push forward marketing. Previously, the CFO position was filled temporarily. A restructure will help the company with its projects.


Verona’s lead drug, RPL554, is a dual phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3 and 4 inhibitor being developed as a novel treatment for chronic obstructive airways diseases such as COPD and asthma, with bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory effects. RPL554 is currently in Phase II for both diseases although the dates for estimated preliminary results are unknown. Furthermore, competition in this disease area is also fierce from a range of pharmas and biotechs.

COPD is a chronic lung disease with significant un-met needs. Current treatments are far from optimal because of the common side-effects and/or limited effectiveness. The combined market for COPD and asthma drugs is currently estimated to be £20 billion. Asthma is a widely affected chronic disease with high occurring rate. A novel and more effective treatment with fewer side effects would no doubt bring hope to its targeted patients.

Other products

Except for the star candidate, there are other drugs under development on their pipeline. Although not at such advanced stage yet, VRP700 seems to have created trouble already. Intensive review is under way to decide on or off with this candidate. The decision from Verona would be another source to affect its share price.

VRP700: In June 2014, Verona Pharma announced that it would not make any further investment in its cough programme after its drug, VRP700, failed to meet the primary end point of a study designed to evaluate the efficacy of the drug as a novel treatment of chronic severe cough in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Data is currently under review and company is seeking opportunities to realise further value from this. However, the future for VRP700, on the contrary to RPL554 does not appear to be rosy.

“Annie Zeng is a final year PhD candidate in Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She joined Accendo Market’s team covering Life Science sector as an analyst from October 2014″

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