Verona Pharma Lands $200M for COPD Therapy Development
A British startup which opened U.S. headquarters in Raleigh earlier this year, Verona Pharma, has been under the radar so far, but that’s about to change with a recent high-profile fundraise.
The London-based clinical-stage biotech has just landed $200 million in an “oversubscribed” private placement of stock. The focus: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Verona said it plans to use the proceeds to fund its Phase 3 clinical program ENHANCE (Ensifentrine as a Novel inHAled Nebulized COPD thErapy).
If successfully developed and approved, Verona said its product candidate ensifentrine has the potential to be the first therapy for treating respiratory diseases that combines bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activities in one compound. It also has potential applications in cystic fibrosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases.
“This important milestone brings us closer to our goal of ensuring ensifentrine is available for millions of COPD patients who urgently need additional treatment options,” said David Zaccardelli, Pharm. D., Verona’s president and CEO.
Zaccardelli and Chief Financial Officer Mark Hahn joined up in February, not long after they had led specialty pharma firm Dova Pharmaceuticals Inc. to a buyout deal with Stockholm-based Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, in a deal worth up to $915 million.
Following a response from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Verona’s end-of-Phase 2 briefing package, the company said it accelerated its preparations for the Phase 3 clinical program.
The Phase 3 trials are planned to start later this year.
Verona is also in Phase 2 development with two additional formulations of ensifentrine to treat COPD: a dry powder inhaler and a pressurized metered-dose inhaler.
Investors leading the funding round include RA Capital Management, Access Biotechnology, Perceptive Advisors and Acorn Bioventures, among others.