Verona Pharma plc (NASDAQ: VRNA) disclosed that it has inked an agreement with Nuance Pharma. The firm has provided the rights to develop and commercialize ensifentrine in Greater China. Ensifentrine is a new, first-in-class, inhaled, dual inhibitor of the enzyme’s phosphodiesterase 3 and 4. This dual inhibition allows it to merge both bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory effects in one compound.
Furthermore, Verona Pharma is currently carrying out a global Phase 3 program assessing ensifentrine for the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with sites in the US, Europe, and South Korea.
As per the agreement, Verona Pharma has awarded Nuance Pharma the special rights to develop and commercialize ensifentrine in Greater China. In return, Verona Pharma will obtain an upfront payment of $25 million in cash and an equity interest currently valued at $15 million in Nuance Biotech.
In addition to this, Verona Pharma is entitled to obtain future breakthrough payments of up to $179 million that are sparked upon the accomplishment of certain clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Verona Pharma is also eligible to tiered double-digit royalties as a percentage of net sales in Greater China.
Nuance Pharma will be held responsible for all the costs associated with clinical development and commercialization in Greater China. A joint steering committee will be established to ensure ensifentrine’s clinical development in the region aligns with Verona Pharma’s overall global development and commercialization strategy.