* New Asian trial similar in design to START trial
* Shares rise 10 pct before the bell
Dec 10 (Reuters) - Oncothyreon Inc ONTY.O said its development partner Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) started a late-stage trial of its cancer vaccine in patients in Asia with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), sending Oncothyreon shares up 10 percent.
Stimuvax is an investigational therapeutic cancer vaccine being developed by Merck under a license agreement with Oncothyreon.
The trial, named INSPIRE, is expected to enroll about 420 patients in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, and is similar in design to the ongoing START trial in patients with NSCLC.
Shares of Oncothyreon rose 10 percent to $5.36 before the bell Thursday. They closed at $4.87 Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)