Allergy biotech Aimmune in $145M Nestlé Health equity investment

Nestlé Health Science has invested $145 million into Aimmune ($AIMT), as it continues to expand into the biotech sphere and looks to bolster its food-allergy programs.

The equity investment from Nestlé Health will help Aimmune shore up work on CODIT (characterized oral desensitization immunotherapy), the biotech’s approach to treating life-threatening food allergies--as well as penning a 2-year collab designed to “enable the successful development and commercialization of innovative food allergy therapies.”

Under the deal, Aimmune will retain all current and future pipeline assets developed with the CODIT approach, including the late-stage AR101, its investigational oral biologic “desensitization therapy” for peanut allergy.

“We are extremely pleased that Nestlé Health Science, a global leader in food allergy management, is making this investment in Aimmune, as it reflects our shared commitment to reducing the risk and burden of food allergies affecting millions of people worldwide,” said Aimmune CEO Stephen Dilly.

“This significant investment will put us in a strong cash position of more than $300 million and enables important additional pipeline advancement activities beyond AR101 for peanut allergy.”

Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, who will also be joining the Aimmune Board, added: “Food allergies have a huge personal impact and are a health economic burden. Nestlé Health Science is investing and innovating to change the approach to food allergy management, with integrated approaches from diagnostics (Dx) to nutrition solutions (Nx) and now biologics (Rx), where Aimmune’s proprietary approach has transformational potential in the lives of patients and families.”

The deal sees Aimmune gain $145 million as Nestlé Health buys out 7.5 million of newly issued shares of its common stock at $19.20 per share--a 15 % stake.

That’s likely all she wrote, however, as the investment and the collab “do not include any development milestones, product marketing rights or royalties,” Nestlé Health said.

Back in March, the Brisbane, CA-based biotech said AR101 performed well in an open-label study, bolstering the company's hopes for success in its Phase III trial.

AR101 picked up the FDA's coveted breakthrough therapy designation last year, while its potential helped Aimmune raise $160 million in an IPO last August.

Nestlé Health has in 2016 been making deeper inroads into biotech, in January setting up a collab with microbiome co Seres Therapeutics ($MCRB) and in April, led a $16.5 million round for another microbiome biotech, this time in startup Enterome.

Back in 2011, the biotech-buying unit of Nestlé also snapped up San Diego’s Prometheus Laboratories as part of its move into gastrointestinal diagnostics.