ZURICH, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cytos Biotechnology Ltd ("Cytos" or "the Company"), a Swiss biotech company focused on the development of CYT003 in allergic asthma, announced today the appointment of Dr. Christian Itin as Chief Executive Officer. As announced on 29 May 2012, the Board will propose to the Company's shareholders that Dr. Itin be elected as member of the Board, and it is intended that he will succeed Dr. Thomas Hecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors as of an extraordinary shareholders meeting scheduled to take place in November 2012. Dr. Hecht will step down from the Cytos Board at this meeting.
Dr. Itin (age 48 yrs.) is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Micromet Inc., a previously Nasdaq-listed biopharmaceutical company, with headquarters in the USA and an R&D center in Germany. Dr. Itin led Micromet as CEO from 2004 until Micromet's acquisition by Amgen for $1.2 billion in cash in March 2012. In total he spent 13 years in senior management roles at Micromet. Prior to joining Micromet in 1999, Dr. Itin co-founded Zyomyx, Inc., a protein chip company based in Hayward, CA, USA.
Dr. Itin received a diploma in biology and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Basel. In addition, he performed post-doctoral research at the Biocenter of Basel University and at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Thomas Hecht, Chairman of Cytos, said: "Christian is an experienced biotech leader with significant expertise and a proven track record and his appointment completes our restructuring of Cytos. We believe with his experience and skills that he is well positioned to shape Cytos' future."
Christian Itin commented: "Cytos has undergone an important transformation during the last six months. The company is well capitalized by a strong group of new international investors and focused on executing a key clinical Phase 2b study with CYT003, a first in class novel biologic for the treatment of patients with allergic asthma. This is an exciting time to join Cytos, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the team building it into a premier biopharmaceutical company."
Dr. Joseph Anderson, Chairman of the Board's Nomination and Governance Committee and Partner at Abingworth, a major shareholder, added: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Thomas for his leadership during a period that led to the refinancing of Cytos. He leaves the Company in a strong position, and we are pleased that Christian has joined as CEO, where we anticipate his proven leadership will allow the Company to realize the significant potential of CYT003."
Further Board Change
Jakob Schlapbach, a Non-executive member of Cytos' Board of Directors and the Company's former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (2000-2010), will also resign from the Board of Directors at the extraordinary shareholders meeting in November.
Thomas Hecht commented: "Jakob has been involved with Cytos for more than 12 years whereby he played a central role in several financing rounds and in the IPO. We are very appreciative of the many contributions he has made during that period. We wish him well in his future endeavours."
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About Cytos Biotechnology Ltd
Cytos Biotechnology Ltd is a Swiss public biotechnology company focused on the development of its lead product candidate CYT003 in allergic asthma. CYT003 has successfully completed a phase 2a trial in patients with persistent allergic asthma receiving standard inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment, where it was shown to maintain lung function and asthma control as ICS treatment was withdrawn. CYT003 acts via a novel mechanism of action: it targets the Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9) pathway, which inhibits the immune response that leads to the allergic asthma response. Cytos plans to initiate Phase 2b studies with CYT003 in allergic asthma patients in 2012.
Cytos was founded in 1995 as a spinoff from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. It is located in Schlieren (Zurich). The Company is listed according to the Main Standard on the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd under the symbol CYTN.
This foregoing press release may contain forward-looking statements that include words or phrases such as "are intended for", "are designed to", or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of significant uncertainties, including scientific, business, economic and financial factors, and therefore actual results may differ significantly from those presented. There can be no assurance that any further therapeutic entities will enter clinical trials, that clinical trial results will be predictive for future results, that therapeutic entities will be the subject of filings for regulatory approval, that any drug candidates will receive marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or equivalent regulatory authorities, or that drugs will be marketed successfully. Against the background of these uncertainties readers should not rely on forward-looking statements. The Company assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements or adapt them to future events or developments.
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SOURCE Cytos Biotechnology Ltd