Vernalis stock has hit a five-year high on news that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved its cough/cold medicine Tuzistra XR.

Developed using Tris Pharma’s LiquiXR technology, Tuzistra is an extended-release oral suspension combination of codeine and chlorpheniramine, indicated for the relief of cough and symptoms from upper respiratory allergies or common cold in adults aged 18 years and older. 

The move sees Tuzistra XR become the only codeine based extended-release oral suspension cough-cold treatment in a US prescription cough cold market which sees 30-35 million prescriptions written each year and is estimated to be worth in excess of $3 billion. 

Short-acting codeine based therapies currently available account for around 38% of the market, Vernalis said, highlighting the potential for a longer-acting option.

“We believe this product offers both patients and physicians an extended relief alternative to existing treatments and presents a significant commercial opportunity for Vernalis,” noted chief executive Ian Garland. 

The firm is working to launch the drug in the coming months, in time for the 2015/16 cough/cold season.

Vernalis shares were trading up nearly 15% on the London Stock Exchange early this morning, as investors welcomed the news.