A potential treatment for allergic asthma, CYT003 (CYT003-QbG10) was found to maintain asthma control and lung function, despite standard inhaled corticosteroid withdrawal, according to results from the phase 2a clinical trial of the drug.

Investigators recruited 63 patients at five centers in Germany, giving each 7 weekly to bi-weekly subcutaneous injections. ICS treatment was withdrawn in two steps from 100% to 50% to 0%.

In all patients treated with CYT003 asthma control improved despite ICS withdrawal. In patients on placebo, the withdrawal of ICS, as expected, led to a worsening of the disease with a statistically significant and clinically important difference between treatment groups. Treatment with CYT003 was safe and generally well tolerated.

CYT003 acts via a novel mechanism of action to selectively suppress the body’s immune response to allergens, according to manufacturer Cytos Biotechnology Ltd.

The “first-in-class immune modulator” is currently being evaluated in a global, randomized and placebo-controlled Phase 2b clinical trial as an add-on therapy in 360 patients with moderate to severe allergic asthma not sufficiently controlled on standard controller therapy. The study was initiated in Q4 2012 and top-line results are expected in Q1 2014, according to Cytos.