Verona Pharma Plc

June 18, 2008 02:00 ET

New Agreement

                                           VERONA PHARMA PLC
                                  ("Verona Pharma" or the "Company")
         Verona Pharma's search for novel anti-inflammatory drugs advances under new agreement

Verona  Pharma,  the  AIM-quoted  company  developing new  therapeutic  drugs  for  the  treatment  of
respiratory diseases, has signed a new collaboration agreement to advance work on one of the three key
programmes in its drug discovery and development portfolio.

Verona  Pharma  has agreed new terms with the Scottish marine biotechnology company, GlycoMar  Limited
("GlycoMar"),  under its NAIPs (Novel Anti-inflammatory Polysaccharides) programme.  The  Company  has
identified a number of compounds as a result of cellular assays and is moving to experimental proof of
concept  studies  in animals.  Using the results of such studies and further work with  GlycoMar,  the
Company's  goal  is to find a suitable candidate for clinical proof of concept studies  in  man.   The
Company  has  expectations that the project will provide novel treatments for  respiratory  conditions
such as asthma and hay fever and for other diseases in which inflammation has a substantial role.

The compounds were sourced by GlycoMar from marine animals, and complements the work Verona Pharma  is
undertaking  under a licence agreement with King's College London to identify NAIPs from the  starfish
family.  Verona Pharma has been working with GlycoMar since November 2006 to carry out evaluation  and
testing  of  a  wide  range of potential NAIPs compounds, and has selected these  compounds  following
indications of anti-inflammatory activity.

The  scientific rationale behind Verona Pharma's NAIPs programme derives from studies  of  heparin,  a
polysaccharide found in mammals and that is widely used as an anti-coagulant (blood thinner).  Heparin
has  been  shown  to have anti-inflammatory actions in various diseases but it cannot be  widely  used
because  its  anti-coagulant action is an unwanted side effect in the treatment of allergic  diseases.
GlycoMar  has identified in certain marine organisms natural sources of polysaccharides without  anti-
coagulant  actions  as  an  exciting  new  route for the development  of  novel  drug  treatments  for
inflammatory respiratory diseases.

The  studies with GlycoMar under the NAIPs programme will run in parallel with Verona Pharma's  RPL554
programme  which is currently being prepared for a Phase 1/2a clinical trial expected to  commence  in
the  near  future.  RPL554,  invented  by former Glaxo Research Director  Sir  David  Jack,  is  under
development to treat hay fever, asthma and other respiratory disorders.  It does not involve  steroids
or beta-agonists, which both cause unwanted side effects.

Verona  Pharma's third active project is the development of an anti-tussive drug that acts to  prevent
coughing by suppressing the generation of a cough signal at the nerve endings in the lungs.

For further information contact:

Professor Clive Page, Chairman, Verona Pharma plc:        07971 504931
David Youngman, WH Ireland Ltd:                           0161 832 2174
Allan Piper, Tavistock Communications:                    020 7242 2666

About Verona Pharma plc (

Verona  Pharma plc (AIM:VRP) is an AIM-quoted drug discovery company that is  focused on  finding  new
therapeutic  drugs  for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and other  chronic  respiratory
diseases,  such  as  asthma  and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  (COPD),  as  well  as  chronic
inflammatory diseases.

Globally, these diseases are costing in excess of US$30 billion per annum to treat, and while they are
among  the most prevalent diseases in the industrialised world, many of the available treatments  have
unwanted side effects, and/or limited effectiveness.

Verona  Pharma  was  admitted to AIM in September 2006, and is run by two  of  the  world  experts  in
pharmacology  and  drug  discovery.  Dr  Michael  Walker  is  Emeritus  Professor  of  Anesthesiology,
Pharmacology  and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia, and a founder of other  biotech,
and biotech related companies. Chairman Dr Clive Page is a Professor of Pharmacology at King's College
London, and an internationally-recognised authority in lung diseases and inflammation.
Verona  Pharma's  compound RPL554 is a bronchodilator/anti-inflammatory drug being developed  for  the
treatment of hay fever and asthma. Through the use of two natural enzymes, called phosphodiesterase  3
(PDE3) and phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), RPL554 targets the underlying cause of respiratory diseases  by
dilating the bronchial passages and blocking inflammation.
RPL554 does not involve steroids or beta agonists that form the basis of most current treatments,  but
which  have  unwanted side effects. RPL554 is expected to have long duration of  action  and  will  be
administered  nasally  thereby  preventing  gastrointestinal  problems  often  resulting  from  orally
administered PDE4 anti-inflammatory drugs.
Separately,  Verona Pharma is also seeking to develop an anti-tussive drug that works to suppress  the
generation of a cough signal at the nerve endings in the lungs. The Company's longer term focus is  to
develop  novel  polysaccharides (NAIPS) as potential anti-inflammatory  drugs  for  the  treatment  of
respiratory allergies, asthma and other inflammatory diseases.

About GlycoMar Limited (

GlycoMar  is developing treatments for inflammatory diseases that have unmet clinical needs.  GlycoMar
distinguishes itself from other biotechnology companies by focusing on marine glycobiology - giving it
unique access to a class of proprietary novel molecules with invaluable biological profiles.

GlycoMar  is  developing  anti-inflammatory  drugs to meet  pharmaceutical  demand  for  new  pipeline
products.  The  Company  has  made a strategic decision to focus on therapy  for  Multiple  Sclerosis,
Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Ophthalmic inflammation; markets which are collectively worth $10.8 B with
annualised growth of 8.5 - 12 %.

GlycoMar  is  also  entering other emerging markets, including stem cell therapy,  nutraceuticals  and
cosmeceuticals, on an opportunistic basis through partnerships with market leaders. These markets  are
worth $1B, $4B and $20-30B respectively with growth ranging from 6 - 11 %.

GlycoMar  generates  income from the provision of contract research services,  for  inflammatory  drug
discovery  and glycobiology research, and through the sale of speciality reagents to the life  science
research  community  from  its  facilities  at the European Centre  for  Marine  Biotechnology,  Oban,

The  Company  is  currently seeking investment of £2.5 million to progress  its  lead  compounds  into
clinical development.

Contact Information

  • Verona Pharma Plc