- Verona Pharma (VRP), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, made a loss after tax of £5.1 million in the first half, compared with a loss of £1.8 million the year before.

The company said this reflected the preparation and initiation of clinical trials and expansion of the team.

Net cash used in operating activities was £8.2 million, compared with £2.2 million the year before, reflecting increased clinical activities.

The company obtained approval for and commenced a four-week, Phase 2b dose-ranging clinical trial in Europe in approximately 400 patients to investigate the efficacy, safety, and dose-response of nebulized RPL554 for the maintenance treatment of COPD, with top-line data expected in the second half of 2018.

It commenced a Phase 2a clinical trial evaluating RPL554 as an add-on therapy to tiotropium (Spiriva), a commonly used long-acting bronchodilator, for the treatment of COPD. Dosing is completed and top-line data is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.

It started a Phase 1 clinical pharmacokinetic (PK) trial in the US following acceptance of an Investigational New Drug application by the US Food and Drug Administration for RPL554. Dosing is completed and top-line data is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.

It also started a Phase 2a clinical study to evaluate the PK and pharmacodynamic (PD) profile and tolerability of RPL554 in up to 10 CF patients as well as examine the effect on lung function. Top-line data is expected in the first half of 2018.

Jan-Anders Karlsson, CEO of Verona Pharma, said: "It has been a transformative six months for Verona Pharma. Not only have we successfully completed our IPO of ADSs on NASDAQ, but we have also commenced four clinical trials with our lead candidate RPL554, including our first clinical study in the United States following FDA acceptance of our IND application and have continued to expand our senior management.

"We now have the team and funding to deliver a comprehensive package of Phase 2b data for nebulized RPL554 as maintenance therapy for both COPD and CF, as well as for the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD. We are developing additional formulations of RPL554 that we believe would significantly extend the commercial opportunity in COPD and other respiratory indications."

At 9:57am: [LON:VRP] Verona Pharma PLC share price was +1.5p at 117.5p

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