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Phase 3 failure of asthma therapy sends Vectura's ailing shares falling

Published on 27/11/18 at 12:35pm

Vectura has announced it is terminating development of its severe asthma therapy VR475, an inhaled formulation of the corticosteroid budesonide, after it failed in Phase 3 trials to demonstrate a significant impact on the condition.

Specifically, the therapy failed to show a reduction in the annualised rate of asthma exacerbations compared to placebo in severe asthma that is uncontrolled despite the use of high doses of inhaled steroids and a second controller medication. The drug was delivered via Vectura’s proprietary nebuliser.

The UK company, which has already been struggling since its acquisition of SkyePharma in 2014 which has proven more costly than expected, saw its shares fall by 11% on the announcement. The company’s shares are down more than 40% this year, and this latest failure means that Vectura’s loss before tax this financial year will be burdened by another £40 million.

“This result is clearly disappointing for the group, but it’s not one which is completely surprising. I’ve described this study as one with a challenging endpoint,” said Chief Executive Officer James Ward-Lilley, while Chief Medical Officer Gonzalo de Miquel also remarked: “Although we are disappointed that these results missed statistical significance, I remain confident in our proprietary technology and development capabilities. Vectura remains fully committed to enhancing respiratory medications by developing better formulations and superior inhalation systems for patients.”

Matt Fellows

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