- Food giant Nestlé on Friday announced a $145 million investment in U.S. biotech Aimmune Therapeutics, gaining rights of first negotiation to the smaller company's oral desensitization therapies through a two-year strategic collaboration. With the investment, Nestlé owns a 15% stake in Aimmune.
- Aimmune Therapeutics lead product, AR101, has breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration for the desensitization of peanut-allergic patients between 4 and 7 years of age. The drug is in an ongoing Phase 3 trial expected to read out in Q4 next year.
- Worldwide, between 5% and 8% of children and 1%-2% of adults have food allergies, according to figures from the World Allergy Organization cited by Nestlé. Peanut allergy, which can be life-threatening, affects up to six million people in the U.S. and Europe.
Nestlé Health Science, a company created by the food and health giant Nestle Group, is focusing on the area between food and pharmaceuticals, creating nutritional therapies backed by clinical data.
True food allergies affect up to 250 million people globally and can be frightening and life-threatening. They are most common in children, but can be lifelong and require constant vigilance. Many people with food allergies can be desensitized with oral doses of gradually increasing doses of the allergens, but this isn't something that people can attempt on their own. Aimmune’s characterized oral desensitization immunotherapy (CODIT) approach contains standardized doses of the allergenic proteins.
While Aimmune has pursued an orally administered product, the French DBV Therapeutics is also developing a peanut allergy immunotherapy currently in Phase 3 testing, using its Viaskin transdermal technology.