UK drugmaker Vernalis has announced the death of its V3381 development programme after another batch of disappointing data, but said it plans to secure new research collaborations over the coming 18 months to fill its pipeline.

The final nail in the coffin came this morning after the company said it would not sink any more cash into V3381 (indantadol) on the back of an interim review of data from a small pilot study in chronic cough that “revealed only marginal efficacy and some issues with tolerability”.

This also follows the termination of a Phase IIb study in patients with neuropathic pain due diabetes back in April, after the drug failed to show any significant benefit compared to placebo, causing the firm’s stock to sink 20% at the time.

On the plus side, Vernalis said in an interim statement that its cash and cash equivalents at October 30, 2010, were £33.6 million, including a 750,000-euro milestone from Servier, and that its cash reserves should exceed £30 million by year end, beating analyst expectations.

The company stressed that it will have enough cash in its pocket to continue operations through to the end of 2013, and that its focus in the next 18 months will be on earning further milestones and establishing new research partnerships.