Shares of Wai Yuen Tong Medicine Holdings surged 23.33 per cent yesterday after announcing a collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong to develop new drugs for the treatment of childhood asthma and female menopause symptoms. The stock closed at the day's high of 3.7 HK cents on a volume of 12.24 million shares. Wai Yuen Tong chairman Tang Ching-ho yesterday said the company had signed agreements with the Institute of Chinese Medicine of the Chinese University to develop the drugs. Wai Yuen Tong will provide millions of dollars of financial support to the two research projects. The company will also market the products, which will not carry patents. Mr Tang said profits from the two drugs would be mainly contributed to Wai Yuen Tong, with the Chinese University receiving only a small share. The research projects are expected to be completed in eight to 18 months. According to the company, there are 200,000 children or 10 per cent of school-aged children in Hong Kong with different levels of asthma. Last year, there were 1.1 million women aged 45 or above - the age most women face menopause. The number is estimated to reach 1.35 million in 2006, according to official forecasts. Wai Yuen Tong produces and sells traditional Chinese medicine under the name of Wai Yuen Tong. The company has also introduced one-stop shopping health-care and medical services. The company has 13 retail outlets in Hong Kong and Mr Tang said it had potential to expand to 20.