Verona Pharma initiates Phase 2 trial for COPD inhaler

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Verona Pharma (NASDAQ:VRNA) initiated a Phase 2 trial of its metered-dose inhaler (MDI) formulation of ensifentrine for the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Ensifentrine inhibits two types of phosphodiesterase enzymes to act as both a bronchodilator and an anti-inflammatory agent.

Following the initial pharmacokinetic profiling portion of the study, several doses of ensifentrine MDI will be assessed in a multiple dose crossover trial. The primary endpoint, based on bronchodilation, will be measured using peak forced expiratory volume in one second, a standard measure of lung function.

“We are excited to expand the ensifentrine portfolio with the MDI formulation for the treatment of patients with COPD,” Jan-Anders Karlsson, Verona’s CEO, said in a statement.

Verona Pharma is also developing dry powder inhaler (DPI) and nebulized formulations of ensifentrine, the latter of which is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2b clinical trial.

“DPI and MDI inhaler formulations have the potential to expand dramatically the clinical utility and commercial opportunity of ensifentrine in the treatment of COPD,” he added.

Verona expects to report pharmacokinetic data from the study in the second half of 2019, and final data in the first quarter of 2020.

Abby Hardy