- Respiratory diseases focused Verona Pharma posted a second-quarter loss on the back of R&D spending and said it planned to start a clinical trial of patients hosptilized with Covid-19 by the end of 2020.

Pre-tax losses for the three months through June amounted to £395k, compared to losses of £36k on-year, and included R&D costs of £6.2m.

Verona Pharma said it had received a notice to proceed from the Federal Drug Administration to study ensifentrine in patients with Covid-19.

The company was planning to initiate a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot clinical study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, chief executive David Zaccardelli said.

'Clinical data from prior studies of ensifentrine in other respiratory diseases have demonstrated ensifentrine improves lung function and reduces cellular markers of inflammation in the lungs,' Zaccardelli said.

'We believe ensifentrine, with its novel mechanism of action, has the potential to improve oxygenation and lung function assisting recovery from Covid-19.'

Separately, Verona Pharma in March had postponed the start of a second, multiple dose, part of a Phase Two study with the pMDI formulation of ensifentrine in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

'I am pleased to report that we now plan to initiate the second part of this study in the third quarter of 2020 with results anticipated in the first half of 2021,'

At 8:58am: [LON:VRP] Verona Pharma PLC share price was +22.5p at 95p

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