The pharma saw a major revolt over its executive pay on Wednesday with more than 20% of shareholders voting against the board’s remuneration.
Steve Harris, chief executive and whose pay rose 80% to £825,000 including a £307,000 bonus, defended the payouts.
"This year we met certain objectives and the board felt we turned the business around and deserved the bonuses," he told the Telegraph.
Circassia’s share price has yet to recover from the failure of its cat allergy treatment in a phase III trial in 2016, which wiped 70% off its value.
Duaklir is being developed by UK pharma giant AstraZeneca but will be marketed in the US by Circassia, where it has exclusive rights.
Smoker’s cough is the common name for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), an often fatal disease which affects an estimated 329mln people around the world and is the result of lung damage from smoking, pollution and some types of job.
In its efficacy trial, Duaklir, inhaled twice daily, achieved its primary endpoint of a substantial improvement in patients’ breathing in people with moderate to severe COPD.
Circassia has also applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for the label of another inhaler collaboration with Astra, Tudorza, to be widened to include heart disease benefits and COPD problems.
Part of Circassia’s plan is to acquire full rights over Tudorza in the US, which will trigger a payment of up to US$80mln.
A further US$100mln is also payable on Duaklir approval.
Harris added: "Duaklir, if approved, has the potential to provide an important treatment option for the significant number of patients with COPD in the United States.
"In addition, the positive cardiovascular safety and COPD exacerbation reduction results achieved in the Tudorza ASCENT study offer the potential to include unique new information in the product's prescribing information, if approved."
Shares in Circassia rose 1.5% to 92.7p.