Nestlé, DBV partner to develop infant dairy allergy Dx patch

Viaskin patch--Courtesy of DBV Technologies

DBV Technologies is straying a bit from its immunotherapy core mission. But it's for an intriguing purpose--to partner with Nestlé Health Science to develop and market a patch test to diagnose an allergy to the protein in cow's milk in infants. The expectation is that such a test will enable Nestlé to better match infants to the most appropriate formula.

Under the deal, Nestlé will pay €10 million ($11.1 million) up front as well as undisclosed development, sales and royalty milestones on sales. DBV is responsible for development, including industrialization and regulatory submissions.

"Early diagnosis and nutritional intervention helps get infants happily back on the path of healthy development, alleviate the anxieties of parents, and reduce healthcare costs," said Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar in a statement. "Our reach in the field of pediatric allergy makes Nestlé Health Science an ideal commercialization partner for DVB's innovative diagnostic patch."

The French startup typically uses its patch technology to deliver epicutaneous immunotherapy--small quantities of proteins via intact skin to address allergies including to milk, peanuts and eggs. DBV is furthest along with its Viaskin Peanut product, which is in Phase III testing.

An estimated 2% to 3% of infants and young children have Cow's Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)--but it's difficult to diagnose. The idea is to develop a ready-to-use, standardized atopy patch test.

Symptoms are typically nonspecific and can include eczema, reflux, constipation, diarrhea and difficult-to-soothe crying. Nestlé made an early step last year by rolling out a Cow's Milk-related Symptom Score (CoMiSS) awareness tool designed to help healthcare providers recognize and diagnose CMPA.

"Combining DBV's innovative and proprietary technology with Nestlé Health Science's global presence and expertise in nutritional therapies is a synergistic approach that we believe has the potential to improve the overall health of our patients," said DBV Technologies CEO Dr. Pierre-Henri Benhamou.

- here is the announcement