Exposure to triggers such as allergens or irritants can lead to asthma attacks. The disease causes narrowing and swelling of the airways leading to symptoms including difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.
Although there is no cure, symptoms may be prevented by avoiding triggers and through established maintenance therapies including bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, anti-IgE agents and leukotriene inhibitors.
Worldwide suffering from asthma
US economic burden
US refractory patients
According to WHO estimates, 300 million people suffer from asthma and it is the most common chronic disease amongst children. In the US alone, the economic burden is about $81.9 billion and the 2015 prescription medicine market sales totalled $13 billion. Approximately 1 million US patients are refractory asthmatics who remain uncontrolled on established therapies.
Verona Pharma’s first-in-class development candidate, ensifentrine, has shown promise in a Phase 2 clinical trial in asthma. The data, recently published on-line in the journal Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, showed that the inhaled phosphodiesterase 3 and 4 inhibitor, demonstrated dose-dependent improvements in bronchodilation that were as effective as current rescue medication, high dose nebulised salbutamol. Importantly, ensifentrine was well tolerated and patients had fewer systemic effects than those receiving salbutamol. For more information see the abstract here.