An allergy to cats affects between 8-17% of people in the US and Europe. It is one of the most common allergies. Discover a drug with minimal side effects which takes away that damned allergy and you’ll make a fortune.
This is what Circassia Pharmaceuticals tried to do. They reported on their website that trials were going well:
“Circassia’s cat allergy treatment contains seven synthetically produced peptides identified from the main allergen responsible for allergy to cats (Fel d 1). It has completed a number of phase II studies, and achieved encouraging results….”
The photos are thumbnails:
Then when they entered phase III testing it all went wrong. They found that the beneficially effects of a placebo nullified their optimism for their new drug. I presume that a placebo had similar beneficial effects if not better results than their drug. The end result being that they have had to abandon the drug at a write down cost of £74.5 million.
In fact the company is abandoning investment into its anti-allergy business entirely.
Circassia’s share value has fallen – they plunged in fact (see image) after announcing the failure of their anti-cat allergy drug. The company had floated at 310p and their share value now stands at 98p.
The fact that a placebo worked makes me think! Perhaps a part of the allergic reaction to cats is in the mind. Certainly the allergy can fade in time, I have found.