How 2 biotechs are chasing a pioneering peanut allergy med
- There are currently two companies with late-stage therapies in development to address the problem of peanut allergy, Reuters reports. The companies are DBV Technologies, which is a French firm, and Aimmune Therapeutics, based in California.
- There are approximately one million American children with peanut allergies and the prevalence is growing.
- Two other companies, Immunomic Therapeutics and HAL Allergy Group, are also working on peanut allergy treatments, but are currently in early-stage development.
Every single person in the U.S. likely knows someone who has a child with a peanut allergy. That reality is even more true today than it was 20 years ago, according to Food Allergy Research & Education. According to this non-profit organization, the number of children affected by peanut allergies more than tripled between 1997 and 2008. And sometimes, this has deadly consequences, as there are 150 to 200 deaths each year due to peanut allergies and 125,000 hospitalizations.
While there has been a lot of speculation about why the prevalence of peanut allergy has exploded—with the "our kids are not exposed to enough germs" theory leading the way—new treatments for peanut allergies have been lacking.
DBV is developing a skin patch, Viaskin, to treat children with peanut allergy, and Aimmune is testing an oral tablet in people between the ages of four and 21. Both are in late-stage development, and analysts predict that a viable, FDA-approved treatment could be available by 2018.