July 10, 2018 / 8:18 AM / 2 months ago

REFILE-Cassiopea shares jump after acne drug posts stellar trial data

(Fixes typo in headlline)

ZURICH, July 10 (Reuters) - Shares in Cassiopea rose as much as 42 percent on Tuesday after the Swiss-listed dermatology company said its investigational medicine for acne had posted "very positive" results in two late-stage clinical trials.

The shares were up 36 percent at 0730 GMT in Zurich, boosting the market capitalisation to about 400 million Swiss francs ($403 million).

In a pair of studies with 1,440 patients, the company's Winlevi, an anti-androgen drug that works against hormones that can lead to the unsightly skin lesions, significantly reduced acne compared to a placebo.

No serious negative side effects were reported in the trials, Italy-based Cassiopea said.

"We are enthusiastic about these top-line results," Chief Executive Diana Harbort said in a statement.

"The U.S. (dermatology) market has not seen a new mechanism for acne since the 1980s."

Shares in Cosmo Pharmaceuticals, which owns 45 percent of Cassiopea, rose 2 percent.

While there are anti-androgen treatments including birth control pills -- such drugs are not suitable for men -- they must be taken orally and may have side effects.

Winlevi, which is being trialed on both men and women, is a small molecule that penetrates the skin to reach the androgen receptors of the sebaceous gland. Cassiopea aims to become the first company to win approval for a topical anti-androgen medicine that acts where needed, not on the whole body.

$1 = 0.9916 Swiss francs Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields

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