Editor’s note: Welcome to Editors' (re)View, our editors’ takes on things going on in the pharma world that deserve some extra consideration.
Nestlé gives up on peanut allergy drug
In what I saw as a noble endeavor to help its customers overcome a serious obstacle to enjoying their products, Nestlé ventured further into pharmaceutical waters back in 2020 when its Nestlé Health Science unit invested $2.1 billion to pick up Aimmune Therapeutics.
With the acquisition, Nestle got Aimmune's newly approved drug, Palforzia — the first ever oral immunotherapy in peanut allergies for patients aged 4 to 17.
But earlier this week, we reported that the company is giving up, and announced it will divest its peanut allergy business. So what went wrong?
Even though peanut allergies affect approximately 2% of the general population of Western nations, Nestlé confessed in 2022 that adoption by patients and doctors was slower than expected. Turns out, trying to launch a drug that requires frequent doctor visits at the start of a pandemic isn't good for profits. Once a blockbuster hopeful, Palforzia will now be handed over to Stallergenes Greer, a biopharma company that specializes in the treatment of allergies.
— Andrea Corona
The next next-gen cancer treatment
This week, we reported that ADC leader Seagen entered a potential $3.5 billion collaboration with San Francisco-based Nurix Therapeutics to advance a new class of medicines called degrader-antibody conjugates (DACs) for use in cancer.
DACs, according to Nurix, combine degrader technology with antibody-drug conjugates and have the potential to be a next generation alternative to both traditional degraders and current ADCs.
Admittedly, my first thought: Did they just make this up? Turns out, not the case — there are several DACs already in preclinical and clinical development. Among them is one of the most advanced candidates, vepdegestrant, which is being jointly developed by Arvinas and Pfizer for the treatment of patients with early and locally advanced or metastatic ER+/HER2- breast cancer.
Instead of carrying cytotoxic drugs like ADCs, DACs come bearing protein degraders, which gives the new modality some safety and efficacy advantages. Replacing the highly toxic ADC payload with degraders may prove less harmful for patients. Additionally, DACs are also more selective than traditional degraders because they deliver degraders specifically to tumor cells.
It’s exciting science and what I’ve come to appreciate about the pharma industry is its ability to produce next-gen treatments while the last generation treatments are still emerging.