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Verona Pharma Commences Clinical Trial of VRP700 for Chronic Cough

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Verona Pharma plc, the biotechnology company focused on the research, discovery and development of new drugs for the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, has initiated its clinical trial of VRP700, a treatment for chronic cough, in Florence, Italy, with the treatment of the first patient.

The trial is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2011, depending on patient recruitment and the efficacy of the drug.

The clinical trial will be conducted by Dr. Giovanni A. Fontana, Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università degli Studi di Firenze at Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi. Dr. Fontana is a recognized clinical expert on cough who has published extensively on the topic of cough and is one of the authors of the European Respiratory Society’s guidelines on the clinical assessment of cough.

Chief Executive Officer, Professor Michael Walker said: "The start of this clinical trial is an important step in the development of a potential new class of drugs for the treatment of chronic cough. Previous work indicates that VRP700 could provide effective relief for cough sufferers without the usual side effects associated with existing drug treatments.  With Dr. Fontana’s involvement, we expect to obtain information about the clinical usefulness of this drug in patients with underlying lung disease."

The mechanism of action of VRP700 is presumed to involve the suppression of cough initiating signals originating at cough sensory nerve endings located in the lungs via a novel  mechanism. If the trial is successful, Verona will work to identify and develop a second generation of compounds with an improved profile.