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

Verona Chairman and Chief Executive David Zaccardelli said: “We believe the potential proceeds from this credit facility and the UK tax credit scheme, together with our $231.7 million in existing cash through September 30, 2022, will provide more than three years of lead, funding the planned commercial launch of ensifentrine in the United States

“We have already begun the early stages of preparing for launch and, pending positive results from ENHANCE-1, we intend to submit a New Drug Application in the United States for nebulized ensifentrine during the first half of 2023, and if approved, we expect to launch in 2024.”

Respiratory diseases

Adam Soller, Managing Director of Oxford, said: “Oxford is delighted to serve as a valuable partner, supporting Verona Pharma’s development and commercialization activities for the unmet respiratory disease COPD and potentially other respiratory diseases.

“The promising results of the recent ENHANCE-2 Phase 3 trial reinforce ensifentrine’s prospects as a compelling treatment 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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