GSK, Theravance report promising PhII data for Advair successor

GlaxoSmithKline and partner Theravance (THRX) say that their planned successor for the blockbuster Advair turned in a positive performance in a mid-stage study involving 60 people with COPD. Significantly, the new drug--dubbed Relovair--outperformed Advair on a key measure that gauges lung function. And that bodes well for the therapy, which is now in late-stage trials for both COPD as well as asthma.

"The Phase III studies are being conducted to help us confirm these early findings," said Rick Winningham, the CEO of Theravance, a 2003 Fierce 15 company. Relovair is a combo drug that matches the main ingredient of Advair with vilanterol and is designed to be taken on a once-daily basis with an inhaler.

A total of 68 percent of the patients in the Relovair group complained of side effects like nasal inflammation, headache, dizziness, and candidiasis, while 50 percent of the placebo group registered similar complaints. It all sounded good for investors, who bid up Theravance shares by about five percent this morning. Those shares have climbed by more than half since Theravance priced 7.5 million shares at $11.50 in March. It was trading at a little more than $18 this morning.

- here's the GSK release
- and here's the Dow Jones report