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LONDON, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Verona Pharma plc (AIM: VRP), the drug development company focused on "first-in-class" medicines to treat respiratory diseases, announces that a paper entitled "The effect of the mixed phosphodiesterase 3/4 inhibitor RPL554 on human isolated bronchial smooth muscle tone" is now available on-line in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Importantly, the reported results highlight the potential opportunity to combine RPL554 with certain other established classes of drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to produce novel medicines with properties suitable for treating patients with severe disease, a significant unmet medical need.
The paper suggests that inhibiting both PDE3 and 4 with RPL554 induces a larger relaxation of human bronchi than that produced by either a beta2-agonist or a muscarinic receptor antagonist. Additionally when administered with a muscarinic receptor antagonist a mixed PDE3/4 inhibitor, such as RPL554, has synergistic inhibition on airway smooth muscle tone thus affording improved bronchodilation when compared with either drug administered alone.
Luigino Calzetta, Clive P. Page, Dom Spina, Mario Cazzola, Paola Rogliani, Francesco Facciolo, Maria Gabriella Matera JPET Fast Forward; DOI:10.1124/jpet.113.204644 (June 2013)
For further information please contact:
Verona Pharma plc
Clive Page, Chairman
Jan-Anders Karlsson, CEO
Tel: 020 7863 3300
WH Ireland Limited
Tel: 020 7220 1666
Tel: 020 7831 3113
Notes to Editors
About Verona Pharma plc
Verona Pharma is developing first-in-class drugs to treat respiratory disease, such as COPD, asthma and chronic, severe cough. The Company has three drug programmes, two of which are in Phase II. The lead programme, RPL554, is an innovative dual phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3 and 4 inhibitor with both bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory properties. VRP700 is an innovative product for suppressing chronic, severe cough in patients with underlying lung disease. In its third programme, Verona Pharma is investigating novel anti-inflammatory molecules, called NAIPs, for a wide range of respiratory and inflammatory diseases.
About RPL554 for the treatment of COPD and Asthma
Verona's lead drug, RPL554, is a dual phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3 and 4 inhibitor being developed as a novel treatment for chronic obstructive airways disease such as COPD and asthma with bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory effects. Both effects are essential to improve symptoms in patients with COPD or asthma. RPL554 is currently in phase II for both diseases.
COPD is a chronic lung disease with significant unmet need for which current treatment is far from optimal, as it often has unwanted side-effects and/or limited effectiveness. COPD is most commonly characterised by fixed airflow obstruction and chronic airways inflammation resulting from exposure to irritants like tobacco smoke. Asthma, which remains one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, is characterised by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. The market for COPD and asthma drugs is currently estimated to be GBP20 billion [source: visiongain].
About VRP700 for the treatment of Cough
VRP700 is Verona Pharma's lead drug compound for the treatment of cough, having a novel mechanism of action involving the suppression of cough initiating signals originating from cough sensory nerve endings located in the lungs. A clinical trial completed at the University of Florence, Italy in September 2011 clearly demonstrated significant anti-tussive effects with nebulised VRP700 in hospitalized patients with chronic severe cough.
Cough can be a very debilitating comorbidity reported by patients, especially those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, fibrosis or lung infections. It is a neglected symptom which is often self-medicated. Consumer spending on OTC medications, including those for cough, grew by 10% over 2005-10, to reach GBP532 million in UK [source: Mintel]. However, there is very little clinical evidence for such OTC cough medications being really effective and it is widely recognised by the medical community that there is a large need for more effective drugs to control and prevent pathologically induced coughing.
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