Cytos aiming for lucrative asthma drug deal-CEO
* Group aiming for partnership deal worth over 600 mln Sfr
* Asthma drug data could give group better licensing deal
* Shares rise 21 percent, outperform sector index
ZURICH, June 23 (Reuters) - Swiss biotech company Cytos (CYTN.S) is aiming to clinch a partnering deal worth over 600 million Swiss francs ($541 million) for its asthma vaccine after strong mid-trial data, the group's head was quoted as saying.
Shares in Cytos jumped 21 percent to trade at 15.25 francs at 0759 GMT on Wednesday, easily outperforming a near flat European pharmaceuticals sector index .SXDP.
CEO Wolfgang Renner said in an interview with Swiss weekly Handelszeitung the group was starting talks to sell the licence for the drug.
"We waited on purpose on the asthma data so that we could get a better deal on a sale. Now we are beginning to negotiate," Renner said.
A recent phase II study showed its drug CYT003-QbG10 was safe and effective in allergic asthma and sent shares soaring. Cytos focuses on so-called immunodrugs, aimed at treating chronic diseases and addictions through vaccination. [ID:nLDE64K17D]
Novartis (NOVN.VX) bought the rights to the Cytos NIC002 anti-smoking vaccine in 2007 in a deal valued up to 600 million francs, including an upfront payment of 35 million francs, with further payments contingent on development milestones.
Renner said Cytos was aiming for a more lucrative deal for its asthma vaccine.
"I don't want to comment on numbers, but like I say, I am expecting something considerably above 600 million francs in total," Renner said in the interview, adding he expected to conclude a deal in the next 12 months. (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by David Cowell)
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