SAN MATEO, Calif.--Allergen Research Corporation (ARC), a privately held company developing desensitization treatment protocols and products for food allergies, today announced the successful completion of financing to support its upcoming Phase 2b clinical trial to evaluate peanut allergy oral immunotherapy (OIT) with characterized peanut allergen (CPNA), as well as related development projects. ARC expects to begin its Phase 2b trial in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The series A financing round, led by Longitude Capital, raised nearly $17 million and included support from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the nation's leading nonprofit focused on food allergies.
Patrick Enright, managing director of Longitude Capital, has joined the ARC board of directors. According to Enright, "As food allergies and their associated life-threatening reactions become dramatically more prevalent, we need treatment options besides avoidance and epinephrine. We're excited by research showing that OIT can essentially re-educate the body's immune system, increasing the threshold of reactivity to an allergen or diminishing the allergic response, and we're confident that ARC has the team and strategy in place to develop OIT with CPNA into a commercial product that can help protect millions of children with peanut allergy."
Building on its lead program for OIT for peanut allergy, ARC's larger mission is to develop OIT products for treatment of allergies associated with foods that account for the vast majority of food allergy reactions: peanut, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, fish and tree nuts. Recent studies have found food allergy prevalence among U.S. children to be as high as 8 percent, up from 4 percent nearly 10 years ago and 2 percent 20 years ago. More than a third of U.S. children with food allergies have had a severe or life-threatening reaction.
"When you look at statistics for the entire U.S. population, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room every three minutes," said ARC CEO Bryan Walser, MD. "The constant vigilance required for allergen avoidance creates stress not just for the affected individuals and their families, but for whole communities trying to accommodate and protect the individuals. Treatment with OIT could be like using safety belts and having airbags in a car—we want it to be available and used to protect children and their families."
About Allergen Research Corporation
Allergen Research Corporation (ARC), founded in 2011, is developing treatments to protect children with food allergies from the life-threatening consequences of accidental exposure. ARC's work, which builds on more than a decade of groundbreaking research in oral immunotherapy by the company's academic and nonprofit collaborators, aims to establish allergen desensitization treatment protocols and supply treatment products for clinical use. The company's lead product, now in Phase 2b development, is a pharmaceutical-grade formulated peanut protein that, with gradual, controlled up-dosing and ongoing maintenance dosing, has been shown to dramatically increase the threshold for allergic reactions to peanuts. This and subsequent ARC products will address an urgent and growing unmet medical need: while the prevalence and social impact of food allergies continues to increase, current treatment options are limited to emergency measures post-reaction. For more information, please visitwww.allergenresearch.com.