Prota Therapeutics, the developer of oral immunotherapies to treat food allergies, has partnered with Chr. Hansen. The partnership will assess the world’s best documented probiotic strain, LGG, in a Phase III clinical trial to develop a treatment for peanut allergy.
Approximately 220-250 million people globally suffer from food allergies, an increase of 350 per cent over the past 20 years. The economic impact for treatment of food allergies in the US has been estimated at US$24.8 billion per year.
Peanut allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, and one of the most common causes of death from food allergy2. More than 3 million Americans suffer from peanut allergy3 resulting in a global peanut allergy therapeutics market estimated to reach more than US$10 billion by 20252.
Prota Therapeutics is pioneering a new form of oral immunotherapy treatment. It combines Chr. Hansen’s specifically formulated LGG®4 probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, with targeted doses of proprietary formulations of peanut protein. The treatment is designed to reprogram the immune system’s response to peanuts and eventually develop tolerance.
One of the first Phase III clinical trials with a live microorganism
Building upon earlier trials conducted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Prota Therapeutics is progressing towards a large-scale Phase III clinical trial, under a US Investigational New Drug Application (IND). The aim is to commercialize a medicinal product using a new pharmaceutical grade therapeutic dosage form for treating peanut allergy, and to explore indications for treating other food allergies.
“An effective therapy to treat peanut allergies is now a realistic target. Chr. Hansen is the ideal partner for us in this next step, both as the owner of one of the key components in the therapeutic product – LGG® – and as a leading expert in microbial solutions. Chr. Hansen has demonstrated the capability to deliver a pharmaceutical quality product that can be regulated as a biological therapeutic product. Together with our proprietary peanut protein formulation, we aim to progress this through to commercialization of a treatment for peanut allergies,” says Dr. Suzanne Lipe, CEO at Prota Therapeutics.
Unlocking the potential of good bacteria
Numerous studies have highlighted the therapeutic potential of specific bacteria in preventing and treating metabolic, gastrointestinal and other diseases. Investigating specific bacteria for the treatment of food allergies is an area that has recently gained momentum.
Having produced LGG® for more than 10 years before fully acquiring LGG® from Valio in 2016, this new partnership is an example of how Chr. Hansen’s focus on industry leading product quality and clinical documentation can expand the potential of the LGG® probiotic strain into a new breakthrough area.
Christian Barker, Executive Vice President, Health & Nutrition at Chr. Hansen says:
“Chr. Hansen has the ability to maximize the value of a probiotic strain through our deep experience in microbial process development and formulation, our focus on quality, and our global reach. The partnership with Prota Therapeutics is part of our strategy to become the partner of choice for companies wanting to develop new generations of therapeutic microbes.”
According to the company, Lactobacillus rhamnosus is the best documented probiotic strain in the world. It has been used in food, dietary supplements and infant nutrition since 1990 and has shown beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal and immune system. It is supported by more than 300 clinical studies and 1,200 scientific publications.
 Gupta R et. al., JAMA Pediatrics 2013; 167(11):1026-103
2 DelveInsight, “Peanut Allergy – Competitive Landscape, Market Insights, Epidemiology and Market Forecast-2025”
3 Sicherer et. al., J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;125:1322-6
4 LGG® is a trademark of Chr. Hansen