Peanut allergy hope

New parents dread finding out their little one has an allergy – particularly a life-threatening response to peanuts.

But the fear of keeping a child safe from an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts could become a thing of the past.

A novel peanut allergy treatment is a step closer thanks to a research funding boost.

In January, the State Government announced a $12 million investment through Breakthrough Victoria to bring local biotechnology firm Aravax one step closer to an innovative new treatment that could save lives.

Aravax is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on revolutionising food allergy treatment through its product, PVX108.

The immunotherapy uses synthetic peptides to mimic key parts of peanut proteins with the potential to retrain the immune system to tolerate peanuts without causing allergic reactions.

Early research at Alfred Health and Monash University has developed this unique treatment, requiring a monthly dose rather than the daily dose required by current treatments.

These trials are a step forward in bringing cutting-edge healthcare to the more than five million Australians living with food allergies.

Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley said: “This therapy, developed right here in Victoria, has the potential to change the lives of peanut allergy sufferers across the world.”

Aravax has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for Phase 2 trials in both countries.

“Victoria is home to world-class scientific research institutions. It’s exciting to receive the local support, global recognition and this investment Aravax needs to expand clinical trials in Victoria and the United States,” Aravax CEO Pascal Hickey said.

Phase 1 clinical trials were successfully completed for adults in Victoria in 2018.

Phase 2 trials, which will evaluate the treatment’s effect in children aged 4 to 17 years, will take place in clinics in Australia and the United States.

“This investment is an important step forward in advancing healthcare for millions of Australians with food allergies and introducing life-changing health technology to the world,” Economic Growth Minister Tim Pallas said.