Editors' (re)View: Nestlé gives up on peanut allergy drug; Next-level ADCs

Sept. 8, 2023
Pharma Manufacturing editors Karen Langhauser and Andrea Corona comment on the notable happenings in the pharma industry from the week of September 4

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.

—Karen Langhauser

About the Author

Andrea Corona | Senior Editor

About the Author

Karen P. Langhauser | Chief Content Director, Pharma Manufacturing

Karen currently serves as Pharma Manufacturing's chief content director.

Now having dedicated her entire career to b2b journalism, Karen got her start writing for Food Manufacturing magazine. She made the decision to trade food for drugs in 2013, when she joined Putman Media as the digital content manager for Pharma Manufacturing, later taking the helm on the brand in 2016.

As an award-winning journalist with 20+ years experience writing in the manufacturing space, Karen passionately believes that b2b content does not have to suck. As the content director, her ongoing mission has been to keep Pharma Manufacturing's editorial look, tone and content fresh and accessible.

Karen graduated with honors from Bucknell University, where she majored in English and played Division 1 softball for the Bison. Happily living in NJ's famed Asbury Park, Karen is a retired Garden State Rollergirl, known to the roller derby community as the 'Predator-in-Chief.'