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New Higher Dose RPL554 Clinical Trial in Asthma - First Patient treated in clinic in Leiden, The Netherlands

05:02 EST 26 Nov 2010 | BioPortfolio

Verona Pharma plc (‘Verona’ or the ‘Company’)

26 November 2010 – London, UK Verona Pharma plc (AIM:VRP.L), the biotechnology company focused on the research, discovery and development of new therapeutic drugs for the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, is initiating a new higher dose trial of its lead drug, RPL554, in patients with asthma.

After receiving ethical approval from the Dutch Authorities, Verona has treated its first patient in this clinical trial at the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) in Leiden, The Netherlands to evaluate the safety and bronchodilator effectiveness of higher doses of RPL554 in patients with mild asthma. A previous Phase I/IIa trial at the same centre, using lower doses, demonstrated safety and effective bronchodilation.

The RPL554 compound is a novel long acting inhibitor of phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3 and phosphodiesterase 4, two enzymes known to be of importance in the development and progression of inflammatory respiratory diseases. The combined effect of these enzymes is bronchodilation and anti-inflammation.

This study is the first of two further trials with RPL554 in patients with allergic asthma. Based on the results, it will determine the dosage used in a second trial to test that the drug’s therapeutic actions continue over a period of days. The second trial will also include an assessment of the anti-inflammatory actions of the drug.

Professor Michael Walker, CEO of Verona Pharma said: “We are delighted that this trial to further clarify the therapeutic usefulness of RPL554 is underway. We believe that, combined with the second trial, we will demonstrate the safety of RPL554 at higher doses as well as its significant potential as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory drug. The trials are expected to add value and satisfy questions raised by potential development partners in the Company’s licensing discussions which are ongoing.”

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

About Verona Pharma plc

Verona Pharma plc is a life sciences company dedicated to the research, discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and allergic rhinitis (hay fever), as well as chronic inflammatory diseases. The Company has three potential drug treatments under development aimed at the respiratory and inflammatory diseases markets: RPL554, Verona’s lead product in Phase II, Cough (anti-tussive) and novel anti-inflammatory polysaccharides (NAIPs) for the treatment of a wide range of respiratory and inflammatory diseases.

RPL554

RPL554 is Verona Pharma's lead drug compound which is a long acting bronchodilator/anti-inflammatory drug (belonging to a class of drugs known as a mixed phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3/4 inhibitor) for the treatment of asthma, COPD and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). In September 2009, the Company completed a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of the drug which showed clear clinical benefits in patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis. The Company is continuing to carry out further studies of RPL554 whilst at the same time it is seeking licensing agreements or partnerships for the further development and commercialisation of the drug.

The Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) (www.chdr.nl)

The Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) is a Dutch full-service contract research organisation with tight connections to academic hospitals. It provides a full range of high quality clinical pharmacology services to the pharmaceutical industry, working as collaborative partners offering sophisticated advice to clients on all aspects of the process of drug development. It also runs its own research programmes, develops new biomarkers to optimize clinical research, Over the past 20 years this approach has led to a wide diversity of biomarkers that help to perform proof-of-pharmacology and proof-of-concept studies in the earliest phase of the drug development programmes.

For more information please contact:

Verona Pharma plc
Tel: 020 7863 3300
Clive Page, Chairman
info@veronapharma.com
Michael Walker, CEO

Evolution Securities Limited
Tel: 020 7071 4300
Barry Saint / Tim Redfern / Esther Lee
contactus@evosecurities.com

College Hill
Tel: 020 7457 2020
Melanie Toyne Sewell / Nicole Yost / Gemma Howe
verona@thecollegegroup.com

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