Two steps forward, one step back seems to be the modus operandi for Vectura this quarter. Today the group announced it would be ceasing all development activities for VR475, its budesonide-based treatment for severe, uncontrolled asthma. The decision is expected to result in a £40m ($48m) pre-tax loss for the UK-based company, and the news pushed Vectura’s shares down by 7%. Luckily for Vectura, its deal with Hikma Pharmaceuticals must have been still fresh enough in investors’ minds to halt a steeper share price fall. Earlier this month the group signed a world-wide deal with the Jordanian specialty pharma group to produce generic versions of Glaxosmithkline’s billion dollar Elipta franchise. Elsewhere, Vectura also has VR647 in the pipeline, which is being developed in paediatric asthma, and has previously shown good phase II results. However, the catch with both VR647 and the Hikma deal are their time lines. Analysts at Stifel are not expecting any products from the Hikma collaboration to hit the market before the mid-to-late 2020s, and have pencilled in 2021 for phase III results for VR647. With few other catalyst on the horizon, Vectura shareholders will have to resign themselves to being in this one for the long haul.
|Vectura's late-stage asthma pipeline|
|Product||Mechanism of Action|
|QVM149||LABA; GCR agonist; LAMA|