StockMarketWire.com - Verona Pharma (VRP) secured funding commitments to raise gross proceeds of £44.7 million through a conditional placing with new and existing investors, including a number of specialist US, UK and European healthcare funds. The Placing was significantly oversubscribed. The net proceeds of the Placing are expected to fund RPL554 through a Phase 2b clinical trial in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and additional Phase 2 studies in both COPD and cystic fibrosis. The funding enables the Company to materially advance the development of RPL554 and build on the significant progress made to date with the revised formulation Cornerstone investors in the Placing are specialist healthcare focused funds Vivo Capital, OrbiMed and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners. Other new investors include New Enterprise Associates, Novo A/S, Abingworth and Aisling Capital with participation of existing investors including Arix Bioscience, Hargreave Hale and Polar Capital. On or shortly after admission, representatives from certain of the investors will join the Board as non-executive directors. Verona Pharma CEO Jan-Anders Karlsson said: "We have made significant clinical progress with our first-in-class drug RPL554. "This drug has shown the potential to become an important novel and complementary treatment option for patients with COPD, a debilitating and progressive disease that impacts about 65 million people worldwide and is still among the four leading causes of death globally. "The funds raised from the Placing will allow the Company to focus on conducting a comprehensive Phase 2b clinical trial programme for nebulised RPL554 as a potential treatment for patients with COPD. "We will also explore in the clinic for the first time the use of RPL554 as a novel treatment for cystic fibrosis expanding the potential of the drug into another respiratory disease where there remains a significant unmet need. "This follows on from the compelling data we have generated in translational, preclinical models of this disease." Story provided by StockMarketWire.com