Treatment with Verona Pharma’s investigative drug RPL554 can effectively improve COPD lung function, results from a Phase 2b trial showed.

RPL554, is a first-in-class, inhaled, dual inhibitor of the enzymes phosphodiesterase 3 and 4 that acts as both a bronchodilator and an anti-inflammatory agent in a single compound.

The trial (2016-005205-40) enrolled 403 patients with moderate-to-severe COPD from 45 centers in Europe. Participants were randomized to receive one of four twice-daily doses of RPL554 — 0.75, 1.5, 3, or 6 mg — or a placebo for four weeks.

Top-line data showed that RPL554 significantly improved peak forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1; a measure of lung function) since the first week of treatment compared to placebo. The beneficial bronchodilator effect of the drug was reported for all tested doses and found to be sustained for up to four weeks of treatment.