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Nestlé Health Science invests $145m in food allergy biotech

Aimmune Therapeutics' lead product is a phase III peanut allergy treatment

Nestlé Switzerland 

Nestlé Health Science has taken a $145m stake in a US biotech whose lead product is a peanut allergy treatment that has Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the US FDA. 

In addition to its 15% stake in Aimmune Therapeutics, Nestlé has formed a two-year collaboration with the California firm for its immunotherapy research, which is designed to desensitise people with food allergies and protect them from the consequences of accidental exposure.

The deal will also see Nestlé Health Science's CEO Greg Behar take a seat on the Aimmune Board. Commenting on the deal he said: “Food allergies have a huge personal impact and are a health economic burden.

“We are investing and innovating to change the approach to food allergy management with integrated approaches from diagnostics, to nutrition solutions and now biologics, where Aimmune's proprietary approach has transformational potential in lives of patients and families.”

Aimmune's lead candidate is AR101 for peanut allergy, which is among the top eight food allergies and estimated to impact 6 million people in the US and in Europe.

An oral biologic containing the protein profile found in peanuts, AR101 is designed to desensitise patients with peanut allergy. It is currently in phase III trials, results from which are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of next year.

Although Aimmune retains rights to AR101 and the any its other future candidates, the agreement with Nestlé gives the Swiss firm an exclusive three-month 'right of first negotiation' for any development programme Aimmune chooses to out-licence or partner on. In return Nestlé will provide scientific, regulatory and commercial assistance to Aimmune. 

The deal follows Nestlé's partnership on the development of a skin-patch test for cow's milk protein allergy and a series of other recent moves to broaden its pipeline. These include Nestlé's $1.9bn partnership on potential inflammatory bowel disease treatments and the acquisition of UK medical device firm and dysphagia specialist Phagenesis.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

7th November 2016

From: Research

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