Research & Development

Therapeutic area

HAL Allergy develops and markets innovative products, that are convenient-to-use, for the treatment of respiratory, venom and food allergies.

Respiratory allergies

Allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis are common, chronic diseases of the respiratory tract. These conditions often coexist. Worldwide, the prevalence of asthma is estimated at 10-18% and allergic rhinitis at 10-25% of the population. What is more, in the past 20 years the incidence of the respiratory allergies has increased. Typical symptoms within the lower airways include shortness of breath, wheezing and cough and within the upper airways nasal itching and congestion accompanied by sneezing and red and teary eyes. Respiratory allergies affect the quality of daily life of many patients including impact on school attendance and productivity at work. The World Health Organization has estimated that 15 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) are lost annually due to asthma, representing 1% of the global disease burden. Despite modern medicines, still many patients are not adequately controlled. In addition, allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis are chronic conditions that cannot be cured and most patients require lifelong controller medication and lifestyle adjustments. Hence, there is still an unmet need for novel targeted medicines that treat the underlying cause of the disease. Specific immunotherapy is one promising therapeutic approach that can be considered.

Venom allergies

Bee and wasp stings usually cause small local reactions. These normal sting reactions are characterized by pain, itching, redness, and swelling at the sting site which resolves within several hours. However, if you are allergic to the venom, a sting can cause large local reactions but also life threatening systemic reactions. The prevalence of large local reactions ranges from 2.4-26.4% in the population. The prevalence of allergic systemic reactions is between 0.3-7.5% in Europe while in the USA, it is 0.5-3.3%. Based on the knowledge of the living conditions and habitat of bees and wasps recommendations can be followed which can greatly minimize the risk of a field re-sting. However, these greatly limit the patients outdoor activities and the anxiety of being re-stung remains. Treatment with venom immunotherapy, given by a course of injections, is able to reduce the risk of a serious allergic reactions to an insect sting. Guidelines advice to always treat adult patients that respond to a sting with a systemic reaction with venom immunotherapy.

Food allergies

Food allergy is a worldwide health problem. The prevalence of food allergies in the developed world ranges from 2-10% and they are especially prevalent in children. The most common food allergens are cow’s milk, egg, soybean, fish, shellfish, nuts and peanuts. Typical food allergy symptoms are itching in the mouth, abdominal pain and diarrhea, but also skin complaints or respiratory problems can occur. Some food allergies disappear over time while (shell)fish and peanut allergy typically persist lifelong. Both these foodstuffs are also more likely to cause severe allergic reactions and even anaphylactic shock. Currently, the only treatment option is avoidance of the food(s) identified as allergenic. However, some foods can contain traces of other allergens and skin contact and inhalation can also trigger reactions. As a result, avoidance can be very difficult. Continuous monitoring of food intake, the fear of severe reactions, avoidance of social contacts and the carrying of emergency medication result in a decrease of the quality of life. There is an unmet medical need for the prophylactic treatment of food allergies which makes the development of safe and effective medicines for food allergy essential. Also in the case of food allergy specific immunotherapy is one therapeutic approach that can be considered.