Ares Life Sciences signed a definitive agreement to acquire all the share capital of Planet Biopharmaceuticals, including its wholly owned subsidiary Antigen Laboratories. Antigen produces allergen extracts and reportedly works closely with the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist community in the U.S.

Ares recently signed an agreement to acquire Greer Laboratories, which also focused on the U.S. allergy immunotherapy (AIT) market. The acquisition of Antigen Laboratories is a continuation of Ares’ strategic focus on the U.S. AIT market, explained a company official. Ares is also the majority shareholder of the France-based Stallergenes, which is developing immunotherapy treatments to be administered sublingually.

An Ares spokesperson said the company believes there is significant growth potential in the AIT business globally, particularly in the U.S., which currently only represents 10% of the European market and is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

“As an FDA-licensed manufacturer, Antigen has one of the most comprehensive offerings of allergenic extracts in the U.S. and has a long track record of serving the needs for the ENT specialists,” said Jacques Theurillat, CEO of Ares Life Sciences. “We view the acquisition of Antigen as very complementary to our other investments in the allergy market.”

It is estimated that 10% to 30% of the global population suffers from allergic rhinitis, pointed out Theurillat. In the U.S., more than 40 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases, approximately half of whom are allergic to grass pollen. The current standard of care in allergy immunotherapy involves multiple injections of allergens, which are prepared from bulk extract material. These injections are performed in a supervised medical setting. Currently, approximately 2 to 3 million Americans in the U.S. are treated with subcutaneous immunotherapy annually.

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