Verona Pharma's Promising COPD Treatment Puts It in GSK's Acquisition Crosshairs, Analysts Predict Big Moves

GlaxoSmithKline plc Sponsored ADR +1.22%
Verona Pharma plc Sponsored ADR -2.36%

GlaxoSmithKline plc Sponsored ADR

GSK

39.75

+1.22%

Verona Pharma plc Sponsored ADR

VRNA

15.72

-2.36%

In recent statements to the Financial Times and The Sunday Times, GSK plc (NYSE:GSK) Chief Commercial Officer Luke Miels revealed the company's intent to pursue acquisitions within the $2 billion (£1.6 billion) range over the upcoming six months, aiming to fortify its pipeline.

Miels emphasized a specific interest in assets within the respiratory and autoimmune disease sectors, expressing a preference for single-asset or dual-asset entities in potential acquisitions.

H.C. Wainwright notes that the inclination suggests a strategic opportunity for GSK to consider Verona Pharma Plc (NASDAQ:VRNA) as a potential acquisition target, with a market capitalization of approximately $1.6 billion, which presents an attractive prospect. 

Its lead asset, ensifentrine, is in an advanced stage of development, currently undergoing FDA regulatory review as a potential maintenance therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, showcasing a mature and risk-mitigated status.

The British roots of Verona Pharma align with GSK's extensive involvement and experience in the respiratory disease arena. 

Verona Pharma's New Drug Application (NDA) for approval of ensifentrine in the maintenance treatment of patients with COPD is under FDA review with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act target action date of June 26, 2024

The agency has not indicated that an advisory committee meeting (AdCom) would be required. If approved, ensifentrine would potentially be the first novel mechanism for COPD in over a decade.

The analysts Raghuram Selvaraju and Boobalan Pachaiyappan reiterate a Buy rating and a price target of $32.

Price Action: VRNA shares are down 0.64% at $20.03 on the last check Friday.

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