The vaccine company Selecta Biosciences has made an agreement with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi worth an estimated $900 million to develop immunotherapies for food allergy treatment.
According to the agreement, Sanofi will have the exclusive license to design up to three food allergy immunotherapy treatments. Selecta will receive $300 million for each allergy treatment’s successful development. In return, Sanofi will have access to Selecta’s Synthetic Vaccine Particle research, enabling researchers to design nanoparticles that induce tolerance to allergens.
If the research works, these nanoparticles could someday be used to “reprogram” the immune system of a person with severe allergies. The injected particles would teach the body not to overreact to the allergen. In addition to food allergies, similar technologies are being used by Sanofi to develop vaccines and immunotherapies for malaria, Type-1 diabetes, and cigarette smoking.
Next Generation of Food Allergy Treatments
Selecta’s president and CEO Werner Cautreels released a statement saying: “In allergies, as well as auto-immune diseases, organ transplantation, and protein replacement therapies, there is a lack of specific, effective and safe treatments to prevent undesired immune reactions. Our approach addresses the underlying causes of these diseases and thereby makes advances beyond today’s symptomatic treatments and allergen avoidance strategies.”