COPD drug progress boosted by debt financing of up to $150 million


Verona Pharma plc announced today (October 17) that it has entered into a debt financing facility providing access to up to $150 million from Oxford Finance LLC.

Non-dilutive capital provides additional financial flexibility and support for commercialization activities of ensifentrin, the company’s product candidate, which recently reported positive Phase 3 data in the ENHANCE-2 trial in obstructive pulmonary disease chronic (COPD). The $150 million credit facility replaces the existing $30 million facility with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

New drug request

President and CEO of VeronaDavid Zaccardelli, said: “We believe the potential proceeds from this debt facility and the UK tax credit scheme, together with our $231.7 million in existing cash at September 30, 2022, will provide more than three years track, financing the commercial launch of ensifentrine in the USA

“We have already started the first stages of preparation for the launch and, in the meantime positive ENHANCE-1 resultswe intend to submit a US New Drug Application for nebulized ensifentrine in the first half of 2023, and if approved, we expect to launch it in 2024.”

Respiratory diseases

Adam Soller, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford, said, “Oxford is delighted to serve as a key partner, supporting Verona Pharma’s development and commercialization activities for unmet respiratory disease. COPD and potentially other respiratory illnesses.

“The promising results of the recent ENHANCE-2 phase 3 trial strengthen the prospects of ensifentrine as a go-to therapy for millions of COPD patients worldwide.

Regulatory milestones

Under the terms of the credit facility, Verona Pharma drew $10 million at closing, a portion of which was used to repay the existing credit facility, prepayment charges and other costs associated with SVB. An additional $10 million is immediately available for withdrawal at Verona Pharma’s discretion.

The company may draw an additional $80 million in two separate tranches after reaching near-term clinical and regulatory milestones. An additional $50 million can be drawn subject to Oxford’s approval. Verona Pharma will only pay interest for the first 36 months, extendable to 48 months upon the achievement of certain milestones. The credit facility matures on October 1, 2027.

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