Verona Pharma has signed a deal of $219 million to promote ensifentrine in China, a “first-in-class” medicine used for the treatment of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
The British-based biotech company with its headquarter located in Raleigh, United States, has signed an agreement with Nuance Pharma, located in Shanghai, giving it the authority to manufacture and market ensifentrine in China. Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macaw are included in this.
“Nuance Pharma’s highly talented leadership team has deep experience developing and commercializing respiratory products across China and we look forward to working with them to bring ensifentrine to this important market,” stated David Zaccardelli, CEO and President of Verona Pharma.
Verona Pharma would receive a cash payment of $25 million as well as a $15 million ownership stake in Nuance Biotech, the parent firm of Nuance Pharma, as a part of the acquisition.
Verona Pharma may also be entitled to an additional payment of $179 million if specified clinical, legislative, and marketing objectives are met, and also double-digit royalty payments based on net sales in China.
Ensifentrine is a dual blocker of enzymes phosphodiesterase 3 and phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE3 and PDE4), this is being studied as an inhaled treatment. Because of its dual inhibition, it can have both bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory properties in a single compound.
Ensifentrine (previously known as RPL554) was chosen from a group of compounds, co-developed by a medical chemist, Alexander Oxford, and Sir David Jack, a former GSK research director, who developed many respiratory medications such as Ventolin, fluticasone, and salmeterol. The medication was acquired by Verona in 2006.
The company’s clinical team, which consists of roughly ten women, the majority of whom are ex-GSK workers, is now working with IQVIA, a worldwide contract company located in Raleigh, to complete the phase 3 clinical trial, which includes two international investigations.
Each is anticipated to register approximately 800 patients at 100 locations across the United States, Europe, and South Korea. Verona Pharma is now testing Ensifentrine for the maintenance therapy of COPD in a worldwide phase 3 clinical trial in the sites of the United States, South Korea, and Europe.
It could also be used to treat asthma, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory illnesses.