Clinical trials start in Australia for new peanut allergy treatment

Melbourne-based company Aravax has commenced clinical trials of an immunotherapy product developed to treat peanut allergy. The product, known as PVX108 is a result of over fifteen years of scientific research led by Professor Robyn O’Hehir and her team at Alfred Health and Monash University.

PVX108 uses parts of peanut proteins to switch off allergic reactions to peanuts. The product is designed to achieve clinical benefit with monthly injections. Compared with other peanut allergy immunotherapies being developed elsewhere, the product is said to be safer because the protein fragments do not contain the parts of the peanut proteins that can cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in sensitised individuals.

Traditional immunotherapy treatments require peanut allergy sufferers to take repeated doses of preparations containing whole peanut protein. Many of these regimes require daily dosing for lengthy periods, exposing patients to a high risk of severe allergic reactions, and the possibility that the effectiveness may wear off once treatment ends.

The double-blinded and placebo controlled clinical trials that commenced in Melbourne and Adelaide in May 2017 will evaluate the safety and tolerability of single and repeated administration of PVX108 across a wide range of doses to determine an appropriate regimen.

The research behind the product’s development has been supported by the Australian Food Allergy Foundation, the Alfred Hospital Trust, and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). In 2015, Aravax secured over $4.85 million in investment from the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) to develop the technology through to initial clinical trials.

For more information about the PVX108 product, including how to be involved in the clinical trials, please refer to the Aravax website.