By Allergen Bureau

Fast-track For Anaphylaxis Drug  

Omalizumab, a medication approved in many countries for the treatment of asthma and hives, has shown potential in protecting against anaphylactic reactions in people with severe food allergies.  

Early results from a large clinical trial in the US indicate that the drug, marketed as ‘Xolair’, allowed children and adolescents with food allergies to tolerate significantly higher amounts of peanut, milk, eggs and cashew compared to the trial participants who received a placebo.   

Repurposing this existing drug offers several advantages. Xolair has a well-established safety profile, having been in market for around 20 years. It can also tackle multiple sensitivities simultaneously. However, high cost and potential insurance hurdles remain.  

This development could be life-changing for millions of people with food allergies, especially the 40 per cent of people who are allergic to multiple foods. For them, Xolair could simplify food allergy management and reduce anxiety about life threatening reactions from unintentionally consuming trace levels of allergens present in other products.  

The full trial results are expected soon. The FDA has granted priority review, meaning approval could come as early as the first quarter of this year. If approved, Xolair would be the first medicine to reduce allergic reactions to multiple foods following an accidental exposure.  

For more details, see the Genentech media release.