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Allergen Takes $80M Series B for Phase 3 Peanut Allergy Trial

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Allergen Research Corp. is taking in an $80 million Series B financing led by Foresite Capital to fund the Phase 3 trial of its pharmaceutical-grade oral treatment for peanut allergy.

Allergen—not to be confused with life sciences giant Allergan (NYSE: AGN)—calls its therapy, which is a peanut protein formulation, a desensitization immunotherapy—in essence it attempts to make people who are allergic to something like peanuts less sensitive to them. The company gives the patients controlled doses of the pharmaceutical-grade, standardized food allergens to increase the threshold of allergens a person can take.

The San Mateo, CA-based company has completed a Phase 2 study of the treatment, which began in February 2014. The FDA granted Allergen’s treatment, AR 101, an expedited review process for approving the drug.

Allergen is also using the financing to begin clinical trials later this year using its technology to treat egg and milk allergies.

Jim Tananbaum, who founded Foresite in 2011, is joining Allergen’s board, as is Stacey Seltzer, a partner with one of the other investors in the round, Aisling Capital.

Longitude Capital, which led Allergen’s $17 million Series A round in 2013, also participated in the Series B, as did new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Adage Capital, RA Capital Management, and Palo Alto Investors.