Nestlé to acquire Aimmune Therapeutics, growing food allergy portfolio

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Aimmune's Palforzia was approved by the FDA in January. Pic: getty/mindstyle
Aimmune's Palforzia was approved by the FDA in January. Pic: getty/mindstyle

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Swiss giant Nestlé is to acquire Aimmune Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing treatments for food allergies. Aimmune’s Palforzia is the world’s first approved treatment for peanut allergy.

Aimmune's Palforzia is the only FDA-approved treatment to help reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reaction to peanuts, including anaphylaxis, in children between the ages of 4 and 17.

Nestlé will acquire Aimmune through its Nestlé Health Science division (NHSc), which has a portfolio of consumer health, medical nutrition and supplement brands. It plans to expand the availability of Palforzia - the process of approvals has been started in the EU - and develop Aimmune's pipeline which is also working on nut and egg allergies.

The deal values Aimmune at $2.6bn. Nestlé currently has a 25.6% equity ownership stake, following a series of investments starting in 2016.

Nestlé: 'Palforzia has blockbuster potential!'

California-based Aimmune was established as the Allergen Research Corporation in 2011, changing its name to Aimmune Therapeutics in May 2015 and becoming a publicly traded company in August 2015.

Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea​) Allergen Powder-dnfp] is an oral immunotherapy indicated for the mitigation of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that may occur with accidental exposure to peanut. 

Palforzia was approved by the US’ FDA in January for use in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy.

“Aimmune has already started the process of approvals [for Palforzia] in the European Union and Switzerland,” ​a Nestlé spokesperson told BioPharma-Reporter. “We expect that the product will be available in those countries next year.

“Palforzia certainly has blockbuster potential, with estimates of $1bn in five years.  In addition to that, Aimmune has an interesting pipeline and is working on solutions for multi-tree nut and egg allergies.”

Double digit growth for Nestlé Health Science

Multinational FMCG giant Nestlé – whose portfolio includes a wide range of brands including Nespresso, KitKat and Perrier – founded its Health Science division in 2011. NHSc is headquarted in Switzerland with a presence in 66 countries.

NHSc is expected to have sales of around $4bn in 2021 – double that of 2014. This year the division is seeing double-digit growth.

Pediatric Care and Food Allergy is one of the three main focuses of the division, along with Adult Medical Care and Acute Care. NHSc acquisition of Aimmune represents an extension of its food allergy portfolio: creating a broader spectrum of solutions for children living with food allergies. Up to 240 million people worldwide suffer with such allergies, peanut allergy being the most common.

“Food allergies are not only disruptive to people’s lives, they can be life-threatening, so we are looking to eventually the spectrum of solutions from diagnostics to protection to nutritional therapies to treatment,”​ said the Nestlé spokesperson. 

“Nestlé Health Science is already a leader in pediatric food allergies with solutions from early childhood protection to nutritional therapies to treatment.”

Aimmune will complement other brands in NHSc’s portfolio.

“To help parents protect their children from potentially developing food allergies there is SpoonfulOne, which we have launched in China and will sell around the world in 2021,” ​said the Nestlé spokesperson. “It is currently sold within the US by Before Brands, a company in which we are invested. 

“For babies and young children with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy, we have the AAA range, Alfaré, Athéra and Alfamino. Alfamino is indicated for food allergy including CMPA. These products are available globally and are used under prescription and/or HCP recommendation.”   

NHSc currently has a total investment in Aimmune of $473m, an approximate 25.6% equity ownership stake. It made its first investment of $145m in Aimmune in 2016, followed by further investments of $30m in February 2018, $98m in November 2018 and $200m in January this year.

Under the merger agreement announced yesterday, Nestlé subsidiary Société des Produits Nestlé S.A will acquire the outstanding shares of Aimmune common stock it does not already own, representing a total enterprise value of $2.6bn.

The tender offer is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Earlier this year NHSc acquired Zenpep and Viokace, medications for the treatment of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency due to cystic fibrosis or other conditions. Its portfolio also includes Atrium Innovations, whcih it acquired for $2.3bn in 2017.

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