Despite significant consumption of predominantly symptomatic medications, there is an important unmet medical need in the allergic patient population.
It is estimated that 22 million adults suffer from physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis in the four biggest European immunotherapy markets (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) and 25 million in the United States1, and only 4.3 million patients are treated with allergy immunotherapy (Alk-Abelló Investor presentation).
Only 55% of the patients who suffer from allergic rhinitis have been diagnosed by a physician2. An increase in the rate of physician diagnosed patients could be obtained through information campaigns targeting practitioners and a better application of the guidelines, defined by the international expert consensus such as GINA and Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma3 (ARIA).
Despite effective management of symptoms in compliant patients, there is still a high unmet medical need. Current therapies have been shown to be efficacious in relieving and controlling symptoms, however, there is a significant need for products that can reduce inflammation and prevent the irreversible airway remodelling, while promoting high compliance in the patient population.
At present, there is no cure for food allergies. The best method for managing food allergies is prevention by strict avoidance of any food containing the allergens. Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related disease such as asthma and other allergies, compared with children without food allergies. Therefore, the development of an immunotherapy treatment for food allergy may prevent the allergic march from food allergy to asthma requiring life-long use of corticosteroids for management of symptoms.
The pharmacoeconomic impact of food allergy can be assessed by a comparison of the Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) of patients with food allergies and of the general population or of patients suffering from other diseases. Patients with food allergies reported poorer HRQL than patients with chronic disease such as diabetes mellitus but better HRQL than patients with rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
(1): Bauchau & Durham 2004, Nathan et al 2008
(2): (V. Bauchau and S.R. Durham Eur. Respir. J. 2004 24 758-764)