Melbourne group to fast-track peanut allergy vaccine

Victorian medical technology company Aravax has been awarded $4.85 million to fast-track clinical development of a world-first, safe and effective vaccine against peanut allergies. The funding comes from the Victorian Government and superannuation fund-backed, Medical Research Commercialisation Fund, which is managed by life science fund manager Brandon Capital Partners.

The novel technology uses carefully selected fragments of peanut proteins to switch off allergic reactions. These fragments don’t contain the parts of the nut proteins that cause the life-threatening anaphylaxis reactions that make many other proposed peanut vaccines unsafe.  Unlike other approaches, this vaccine would not need life-long daily dosing. If successfully developed and commercialised, the vaccine could transform the lives of thousands of children and adults.

The program will be led by allergy researcher Professor Robyn O’Hehir, whose novel allergen immunotherapy approach has been developed over many years at The Alfred Hospital and Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, and has been used to create an international company now worth around $1.6 billion.

Go to www.aravax.com.au for more information.

Development of another vaccine for peanut allergy sufferers is lined up for a funding boost in the EU. European-based pharmaceutical company Allergy Therapeutics recently acquired the licence for Virus Like Particles (VLP), a new technology to be used in the treatment of peanut allergy. On the back of this acquisition, Allergy Therapeutics is seeking to raise up to GBP12.0 million by selling new shares. The company intends to use the VLP licence in the development of Polyvac Peanut, a new injectable vaccine immunotherapy treatment for allergy sufferers, through to Phase I clinical trials. Until now, the company has focussed primarily on grass and tree pollen allergies, with the VLP licence acquisition marking their first move into products aimed at treating food allergies.

Go to www.allergytherapeutics.com for more information.