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Hope For Peanut Allergy Sufferers

Posted on 21st Dec 2014 by Marlene

From today's Mail Online

A patch to stop peanut allergy sufferers having potentially fatal reactions has been developed by a French firm, and could hit the shelves by in just two years.

The patch administers small amounts of peanut allergens into the outer layers of the skin, which will help sufferers become less sensitive to the nuts over time.

Administering small amounts of allergens to the skin activates the immune system without bringing the allergen into the bloodstream, which could cause an allergic shock.

Over time, as more and more peanut is introduced to the body, the immune system will become used to the allergen.

DBV Technologies, the French biotech company which has developed the patch, hopes it will be launched in 2017.

Pierre-Henri Benhamou, chief executive of company DBV Technologies, said he hopes the patch will cure some people's allergies, and prevent severe allergic reactions in others.

'While we believe that some patients will be completely cured by using the patch, the goal here is not to be able to eat a handful of peanuts - but not to risk an acute allergic reaction in case of accidental ingestion of peanut,' he told Forbes magazine.

'We are working on developing what are called "biomarkers", which will allow practitioners to monitor the progress of the desensitisation process and advise the patients when they will be able to lower their level of vigilance, especially towards the "may contain" products.'

Following 'encouraging' initial trial results, DBV hopes to start clinical trials in larger groups of patients in 2016

The company would not comment on the potential price of the patch, but analysts estimate it will exceed $3,500 (£,2234) per patient per year.

Allergy UK claims peanut allergies now affect 1 in 50 young infants, and adds studies show the rate of peanut allergy has doubled over a five year period both in Europe and in the U.S.

Peanut allergies have lifelong effects and are often associated with psychological traumas, including fear of eating, antisocial behavior and anxiety, according to DBV Technologies.

It claims the quality of life in children with peanut allergy is more impaired than in children with diabetes. In the U.S., the average consumer eats more than 6lb of peanut products a year, mainly in the form of peanut butter. Mr Benhamou believes Viaskin Peanut could be a 'blockbuster', earning the company over $1 billion in global sales.

DBV also develops patches for milk and dust mite allergies, but analysts estimate 75 per cent of the company's value comes from its peanut patch.The company is issuing 2.67 million new shares worldwide will it hopes will raise at least 90 million euros ($114 million or around £70 million).

'This fundraising will enable us to significantly strengthen our structures in France, notably in research and development,' Mr Benhamou told Reuters

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