Grass Pollen Allergy Vaccine Gets Encouraging Phase II Results

Allergy Therapeutics Grass Pollen

Allergy Therapeutics has obtained positive Phase II results for its grass pollen allergy vaccine and plans to launch a Phase III study next year.

British biotech Allergy Therapeutics has obtained positive Phase II results for its grass pollen allergy vaccine. Roughly 30% of the population in Europe are allergic to grass pollen. The company plans to launch a Phase III study for the vaccine in 2019, which would be the last step towards getting a market approval.

The Phase II trial, which took place in Germany, Poland, and Austria, enrolled a total of 447 participating patients. The vaccine resulted in a significant improvement in allergy symptoms compared to the placebo group and increased patients’ antibody levels.

The vaccine, called Grass MATA MPL, contains allergoids, which are allergens that have been chemically denatured to reduce their allergenicity and improve their safety. The body’s immune response to the allergoids is enhanced by two different adjuvants — chemicals that can boost the body’s response to an antigen.

Allergy Therapeutics is competing with ASIT Biotech, a Belgian company that recently raised a total of €13.9M to bring its vaccine for grass pollen rhinitis through Phase III development. ASIT’s vaccine uses natural allergens without adjuvants to inhibit the production of antibodies and white blood cells that cause grass pollen allergies.

It has been particularly difficult to develop effective treatments for the allergy market. Circassia, based in Oxford, stopped investing in its allergy programs after failing two clinical trials. Last year, DBV Technologies failed to meet a Phase III study endpoint for its peanut allergy treatment. In both cases, the placebo performed unexpectedly well, drawing the effectiveness of the actual allergy treatments into question.

Images by Elizaveta Galitckaia, Romas_Photo/Shutterstock 

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