The UK’s Vectura Group, which specialises in inhaled products, has issued an upbeat trading statement saying that it expects to have over £70 million in cash by the end of March.

The Chippenham-headquartered firm added that its pipeline is progressing well and development partner Novartis has just announced that it intends to submit New Drug Applications in 2011 for two treatments that the firms are developing for chromic obstructive pulmonary disease. The first is NVA237, a once-daily dry powder inhaled formulation of glycopyrronium bromide, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist with a rapid onset of activity. The second is QVA149, which is NVA237 combined with Novartis’ once-daily, long-acting beta-agonist indacaterol, also known as QAB149.

Vectura added that good progress is being made with two generic asthma/COPD products, VR315 and VR632, which are partnered with Novartis unit Sandoz. The firm has also started Phase II studies in cystic fibrosis patients using VR496, which also has the potential for use in asthma and COPD, and a Phase IIb “at-home” study with VR040 for Parkinson’s disease

A couple of months ago, Vectura received 7.5 million euros from Boehringer Ingelheim on the achievement of a milestone in the development of a new dry powder inhaler for the German firm. Chief executive Chris Blackwell said that the next twelve months “should see a positive inflection for Vectura and its shareholders, driven by further visibility on our pipeline products as more data become available and as our key programmes progress into registration trials”.

He added that “our strong cash position is a major strength and we are committed to maintaining careful management of our financial resources”.