Inhaled RPL554, a dual phosphodiesterase 3 (PDE3) and PDE4 inhibitor, is an effective and well tolerated bronchodilator, bronchoprotector, and anti-inflammatory drug, according to research conducted by manufacturer Verona Pharma, which is available online ahead of print in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

The peer-reviewed paper highlights the potential of Verona Pharma’s lead pipeline drug to reverse the narrowing and to reduce the inflammation of airways faster and with fewer side effects than current treatments.

The competitive advantages of RPL554, according to Verona Pharma, include: combining bronchodilator (PDE3) and anti-inflammatory actions (PDE4) in a single drug; it does not use steroids or beta agonists; it will be administered by nasal inhalation.

“These studies give us a glimpse into the potential bronchodilator, bronchoprotective, and anti-inflammatory effects of this drug. So far trials have run for seven days or less and there is a need to look at longer-lasting effects,” said Clive Page, professor at King’s College London, study lead author and non-executive chairman of Verona Pharma. “Further studies are needed to better understand the full potential of this new therapy for COPD and asthma.”

The novel dual PDE 3/4 inhibitor was well tolerated by healthy subjects, allergic asthmatics and patients with COPD, according to the research. The drug showed a rapid and sustained bronchodilator activity at least as effective as the benchmark therapy salbutamol across a range of doses, along with a highly significant anti-inflammatory activity, according to researchers.

Verona Pharma is initially pursuing development of the drug in a nebulized format suitable for the treatment of severe COPD patients, though they believe RPL554 is also suitable for incorporation into dry powder inhaler (DPI) and pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI) devices.