Bencard Allergie is developing ultra-short course allergy immunotherapies, backed by a strong growth in its German market.
Bencard Allergie is the German subsidiary of Allergy Therapeutics in the UK, which develops allergy vaccines. The German company was the first to market allergoids for allergen-specific immunotherapies. These are proteins modified to be recognized by immune cells while inducing a less intense response mediated by IgE antibodies. Over time, the patient’s immune system is exposed to larger doses to develop tolerance to the original allergen.
Now, the company is about to start Phase III trials with its product Pollinex Quattro birch against birch tree pollen allergy. The treatment is an ultra-short course subcutaneous immunotherapy that reduces a whole year of therapy to a period ranging from 3 to 8 weeks. With it, the company uses the aluminium-free adjuvant MCT as well as MPL, unique to Bencard, which binds to the TLR-4 receptor of immune cells and specifically induces a TH1-type immune response.
On top of that, Allergy Therapeutics and its subsidiaries are working on a new approach for allergen immunotherapy using virus-like particles. Backed by promising preclinical data, the group is now planning to enter clinical trials with the technology to treat peanut allergy.
In the market, Bencard will face competitors like the Swiss Anergis, also working in ultra-fast immunotherapies, and the French DBV Technologies, developing a non-invasive skin patch for children with peanut allergy. For its part, the British Circassia recently faced failure from a Phase III trial in cat allergy that has halted the development of its whole allergy pipeline.
Despite having strong competitors, Bencard seems well positioned. Allergy Therapeutics recently reported that Germany is its biggest source of sales growth, where 60% of its revenues are contributed by Bencard. This is great news for the company and its subsidiaries, which are seeking approval for their products according to the new Therapy Allergens Ordinance (TAO).
These regulations, implemented in Europe back in 2008, are expected to translate into fewer approved products by fewer suppliers, but the team seems confident in its products and is also planning for launch in the US soon.
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