Switzerland’s Cytos Biotechnology AG, which is rumoured to be the subject of a takeover bid, has reported positive results from a Phase IIa study with CYT003-QbG10, its immunotherapeutic candidate for the treatment of allergic diseases.

The study included 40 patients suffering from mild to moderate allergic rhinitis due to hay fever which established the safety, tolerability and exploratory efficacy of two different formulations of CYT003- QbG10 monotherapy to placebo, and in an open-label setting, a formulation of the compound comprising a low dose of grass pollen extract.

Wolfgang Renner, Cytos’ chief executive, said that at this stage the company is “assessing various parameters of this promising ‘immunodrug’ candidate such as different formulations, doses and treatment regimens.” He added that “each of the currently ongoing and planned studies is aimed at gaining wider experience for this novel treatment approach and to bring us closer towards a causal and disease-modifying therapy for a broad range of allergic diseases.“

Cytos’ immunodrugs, which combine traditional medicines with vaccine technology, are attracting interest and its shares have soared of late as industry observers in Switzerland believe that a takeover bid from Novartis could be in the offing. The Swiss drugs giant is already involved in an immunodrug alliance with Cytos in Alzheimer’s and in addition to the allergy trial and the Novartis pact, the biotech firm has four other vaccine candidates in clinical trials for the treatment of nicotine, psoriasis, hypertension and melanoma.