Cambridge-based Camallergy raised £815,000 from investors to progress its game-changing drug
The first licensed treatment for peanut allergy has moved a step closer.
Affecting 1.4 to 3 per cent of children and at least one in 200 adults in high-income countries – about six million people in Europe and the US – peanut allergy is the most common cause of severe and fatal allergic reactions to food.
Camallergy, which spun out of Cambridge University Hospitals, has developed an oral immunotherapy drug which desensitises patients by gradually exposing them to increasing amounts of peanut allergens. Treatment involves seven short visits and two years of easy, daily administration.
In a phase two study, children’s thresholds for an allergic reaction increased 25-fold, meaning 84-91 per cent of those taking part in the study could tolerate eating peanuts after six months of treatment.
The new investment will enable it to quadruple manufacturing capability and carry out the studies needed before planned phase three trials in 2018. Revenue from clinical treatments has also helped Camallergy, based at Cambridge Biomedical Campus, invest in its drug development.
Business angel and entrepreneur Jonathan Milner, who founded Cambridge antibody firm Abcam, led the investment round – £455,000 of which was raised on crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom.
Camallergy was established by world-leading allergy experts Dr Pam Ewan and Dr Andrew Clark with CEO Sherden Timmins.
Dr Ewan said: “This is fantastic news for Camallergy and patients and brings our development programme, which is backed by real-world data from the Cambridge Peanut Allergy Clinic, a step closer to a licensed treatment for peanut allergy.”
Dr Clark added: “We are delighted to receive backing from Jonathan, and we are now able to take Camallergy into the next exciting phase of development.
“Our oral immunotherapy demonstrated strong results in phase two, showing this method is the only real option to treat people with peanut allergy. Our straightforward course of therapy means patients spend less time in clinic, making it easier and more convenient for families.”
Dr Milner said: “Camallergy’s biggest strength is that, unlike other start-up companies, it has real-world clinical evidence that its treatment regimen and methodology works. This success brings huge confidence to me as an investor that the product that Camallergy is developing will be successful and effective.”
The funds will enable Camallergy to manufacture a newly-devised formula.
The firm now intends to raise venture capital to fund the phase three multinational studies, moving it towards medicinal product licences for both children and adults.