Swiss company Nestlé, better known as the makers of Kit Kat, Nescafe, and Lean Cuisine, is on a quest to rid us of food allergies, starting with the dreaded peanut allergy. The food producer has acquired Aimmune Therapeutics, a California-based bio-pharmaceutical firm which has developed a groundbreaking peanut allergy treatment.
In a $2 billion deal, Nestlé will gain full ownership of Palforzia, a treatment for peanut allergies in children and teens aged 4 to 17 which has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year. The drug is meant to desensitize allergy-sufferers to peanut protein, which should reduce the severity and frequency of allergic reactions.
The acquisition is part of the food giant’s pursuits in the field of nutritional therapy, for which they have formed the Nestlé Health Science (NHS) division in 2011. In 2016, NHS also invested in the development of a test for dairy allergies. By acquiring Aimmune, NHS will now have prevention, diagnostic, and medical treatment options available for one of the most common food allergies in the world, according to the head of NHS, Greg Behar.
Leave it to the world’s largest food and beverage company to solve a problem plaguing an estimated 240 million people globally. According to Behar, the company has “the technology platform for other food allergies in development,” and is reportedly working on a treatment for egg and other nut allergies next.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Palforzia’s highly anticipated launch has yet to get off the ground, but the acquisition deal is sure to move things along in 2021. The company holds a 12-year exclusive on their patent, which will preclude generic versions of the drug from entering the market for the duration.
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