End of the road for Cytos after asthma flop

It is all over for Cytos Biotechnology and the Swiss group is looking to wind down operations after its investigational asthma therapy failed a mid-stage study.

The Phase IIb study of CYT003, tested in patients with moderate to severe allergic asthma showed that the immune modulator did not hit its primary or secondary endpoints compared to placebo. Cytos has therefore decided to unblind and terminate the study, triggering the end of the road for the firm.

As a result of the failure to achieve the primary endpoint, the condition for the conversion of convertible loan notes has not been achieved, and Cytos says it considers “the prospects of raising new funding sufficient to continue as a going concern to be remote”. Management is now evaluating the options “for an ordinary winding down of operations and liquidation of the company or a possible bankruptcy”.

In addition, the company has initiated the consultation process for a “mass dismissal” of all its 36 employees. It has 31 million Swiss francs in cash but will not be able to repay any bonds or make a liquidation dividend.

Some would argue the writing has been on the wall for Cytos since the end of 2013 when partner Novartis finally pulled out of a pact to develop a smoking cessation vaccine which failed a Phase II study in November 2009. Unsurprisingly Cytos shares collapsed 94.8% to just 0.15 francs.

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